Friday, 24 November, 2017

Orlando remembers Pulse nightclub shootings on first anniversary

Marchers at the start of the March for Equality on Sunday Marchers at the start of the March for Equality on Sunday
Rosalie Gross | 21 June, 2017, 02:55

"It felt incredibly warm to see the entire world coming just because of something that happened in my backyard", Cris Pacheco, who used to frequent the nightclub, said.

One year after the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into the Pulse nightclub attack, the agency continues to seek answers about gunman Omar Mateen and his actions leading up to the deadliest shooting in modern US history.

The names of all 49 of those slain were read aloud Monday, as club owner Barbara Poma and others heaped praised upon the first responders that horrific night, as well as the community that has wrapped its arms around Pulse and its clientele in the year since. "Orlando was proof love always wins". Ninety percent of those killed were of the Latinx community, and 53 additional people were injured in the shooting. Gov. Rick Scott ordered USA flags around Florida to be flown at half-staff and a gay-pride flag was unveiled at the Orange County government building.

The city declared the day "Orlando United Day - A Day of Love and Kindness" and is encouraging acts of compassion by its residents.

Starting in the early hours Monday, and continuing nearly 24 hours later, survivors, victims' families, city officials and central Florida residents will remember the victims with four services. "Your life is forever changed", she said."The whole direction of life has changed".

At 2:02 a.m., survivors, victims' families, club employees and local officials were gathered for a private service at the gay club at the exact time Omar Mateen opened fire a year ago and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

"I think now is a very politically hot time and it's time we stand up and show our colors", Jacob Friedmann said during the march.

At noon, church bells throughout Orlando rang 49 times to honor the victims.

The vigil experienced a rare spat of ugliness when two protesters showed up with a sign blaring homophobic slurs.

After the massacre, Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, admitted to police that she talked about the attack with Mateen. Moments later, the officer pushes the man back and the man falls down.

Today Maria Wright and her husband, Fred, are trying to convince lawmakers that they must do more to keep the country safe.

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