ORLANDO – Brooklyn mom Brenda Lee Marquez McCool loved her kids, all 11 of them.
For one of them, the 49-year-old paid the ultimate price when a gunman entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando and started shooting at everyone.
Sister-in-law Ada Pressley told the New York Daily News the mom saw the gunman shoot down others, and then turn his weapon towards her and her son Isaiah Henderson.
“Brenda saw him point the gun. She said, ‘Get down,’ to Isaiah and she got in front of him,” Pressley said. “She was shot dead. That’s how much she loved her kids. If it weren’t for her, he’d of been shot.”
Friends of the family say McCool lived up to her name.
“She was so cool. She came out with us and her son to have a good time,” Nick Perez told CBS affiliate WKMG. “This all feels so surreal. I can’t believe it happened.”
On a GoFundMe page set up by the family to defray funeral costs, Farrell Marshall, her fifth oldest son, said McCool survived bouts of cancer twice.
“She just went out last night and said goodbye to her children and to be called 3 hours later that she has been hit by 2 gunshots and later pronounced dead…is beyond me,” Marshall wrote.
“My So-Called Life” actor Wilson Cruz told Entertainment Tonight he was a relative of McCool’s, and that he was deeply saddened by her passing.
“Brenda went to Pulse the way she frequently did, with her 21-year-old openly gay son, Isaiah,” Cruz said. “They loved to go there on that night because it was Latin night and they could be with their friends, dance salsa and find refuge in a safe space.”