dancing with her son Isaiah
Henderson at Pulse nightclub when
shots rang out over the blaring
music. Instead of running away, she
threw herself on her son, shielding him from shooter Omar Mateen. She
died protecting her son, pictured in
the middle crying.
McCoo, 49, was a two-time cancer
survivor. Her sister-in-law Ada
Pressley told the New York Daily
News that McCool saw gunman Omar turn his assault rifle at her and her son and said:
"Get down,' to Isaiah and she got in
front of him,". She was shot dead.
That's how much she loved her kids. If it weren't for her, he'd have been shot."
At her funeral at the First United
Methodist Church of Orlando today,
Henderson, 21, broke down as he
paid heartfelt tribute to his mother,
almost unable to stand while he
"I never thought that her life would
be ended right in front of my eyes,"
he said, sobbing. "My mother
accepted everyone with open arms.
She loved everybody equally, no
matter what." His brothers rushed to the pulpit to hold him up and console him.
"I haven't stopped crying since,"
Henderson said. The funeral was also full of humor and colorful moments as Marquez-McCool’s family remembered her life.
She was repeatedly referred to as a
resilient woman who was a family
leader and a fighter. Henderson said he and his mother used to wrestle and "play fight," adding that his mother always won.
“I obviously lost. She’s a linebacker!” he joked. His family roared with
laughter. Many of Marquez-McCool's 11 children spoke. Her brother Michael Santos was the only one of her siblings to offer words of
remembrance, and he struggled at
times to get through them.
"I have nothing to say to you
because my heart is on fire. I have
no words," said Santos. He spoke fondly of their Puerto Rican
heritage and said that his sister was
quite the dancer, the life of the party.
He looked toward heaven and asked her to "tell Jesus to step up the salsa game." Robert Pressley Jr., another of Marquez-McCool's sons, joined his friends near the altar and sang a tribute to his mother, at times pulling the microphone away from his mouth and holding down his head as he struggled to finish the song through tears.