Brenda Marquez McCool, 49, was a mom of 11 children from Brooklyn. McCool was with her son Isaiah, 21, who is gay, celebrating latin night at the LGBT club Pulse in Orlando. Her sister-in-law Ada Pressley said that wasn’t unusual—McCool loved dancing, especially salsa, and she wanted to support her LGBT family.
When ISIS-inspired gunman Omar Mateen, 29, started shooting at partygoers at Pulse, McCool’s mom instincts kicked in fast. Her sister-in-law Pressley told the New York Daily News, “Brenda saw him point the gun. She 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 of been shot,” she added.
A grief stricken Isaiah Henderson wrote on Facebook, “Just laying here thinking that I was just with my mom 24 hours ago, this is so surreal. I love you mom.”
Henderson was separated from his mom in the panic that ensued after she was shot, and was later brought to safety when police stormed the club and killed Mateen.
McCool was a fighter, a two-time cancer survivor, and it’s no surprise to anyone that she took a bullet for her son. Her ex-husband Robert Pressley, the father of two of her children, says “She was selfless, always giving of herself. All the kids in the neighborhood were part of her extended family.”
One of her other sons has set up a GoFundMe account to help the family and his 10 siblings.
My prayers are with McCool’s children…I’m so thankful they had such a loving, protective mother, and I pray God comforts and provides for them in her absence.