The anchor got emotional as he listed the names of the 49 men and women killed in the attack at Pulse nightclub — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and the bloodiest terror attack on American soil since Sept. 11.
“They are more than a list of names,” Cooper said as his voice shook. “They are people who loved and who were loved.”
The tribute lasted almost seven minutes. In addition to listing the names, CNN showed photos of the victims, who were still being identified as late as Monday night, and shared information about their lives, including their ages and professions.
“Edward Sotomayor Jr. He worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community. His family says he was witty, charming and that he always left things better than he found them,” a teary Cooper said.
He said CNN would not air the name and photo of gunman Omar Mateen, who died in a shootout with police.
“In the next two hours, we want to try to keep the focus where we think it belongs, on the people whose lives were cut short,” Cooper said.