OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
11:55 AM – Wednesday, October 25, 2023
The city of Orlando in Florida will be purchasing the “Pulse” nightclub property in order to create a memorial for all of the lives lost. It is now seven years since the Pulse mass shooting left 49 people dead.
On Monday, the city of Orlando voted to buy the nightclub property to commemorate victims of the shooting that took place there on June 12th, 2016.
City officials agreed to purchase the property for $2 million. According to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D-Fla.), the agreement was a collective decision, collaborating with the families of the victims to build the memorial site.
Pulse nightclub was an LGBTQ+ bar and nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Seven years ago, the club was the scene of the second most tragic mass shooting performed by a single gunman in United States history.
Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former state representative of East Orlando, spoke about the incident and explained the meaning behind the memorial.
“People were taken from this community, mostly LGBTQ and Latino people from our community,” said Smith. “Having that sacred ground be a space of quiet reflection of remembrance for those 49 Angels that were taken is something that is a top priority for those families and for those survivors as well as an entire community that’s been impacted by this tragedy.”
The gunman responsible for the massacre was named Omar Mateen. Mateen opened fire in the gay nightclub, murdering 49 people and injuring another 53 people. The assailant was shot and killed the same night by a SWAT team member.
Federal officials conducted two interviews with Mateen in 2013 after colleagues claimed he had discussed radical Islamic ideologies with them while expressing his own homophobia. His connections to an American who went to the Middle East to train as a suicide bomber led the FBI to reexamine him the following year, according to NBC news.
In 2016, the Pulse nightclub catastrophe marked the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. However, that number was exceeded the year after, when 58 people died and over 850 were wounded at a country music concert in Las Vegas.
For years since the massacre took place, families of the 49 people who were murdered at Pulse have pushed for a public memorial remembering victims at the site of one of the most tragic mass shootings in the nation’s history.
However, some of the survivors who were at the nightclub that night have argued that concentrating our resources on the investigation into what exactly occurred during the massacre should be a top priority.
Maritza Gomez, a victim of the tragedy who survived that night, shared her thoughts on the investigation.
“I lived that night, but it’s a constant sacrifice to keep moving everyday,” Gomez told the press. “I don’t think that Pulse should be diminished. I think that an investigation should be taken care of first.”
Another survivor, Orlando Torres, explained to reporters how authorities have handled the investigation, saying, “I’m glad that they looked after us and put this to a rest and at ease.”
There have still been remaining questions about the killer’s motive and regarding whether the shooting was a homophobic hate crime or an act of terror. Currently, the FBI believes the shooting was a “terrorist attack”.
The onePulse Foundation, an 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on funding the construction of a Pulse memorial and museum, as well as educational programs and scholarships, shared a statement last week before the collaborative vote on Monday. The statement praised city authorities for their then-expected authorization of the $2 million deal.
“We are thankful to the City of Orlando for ensuring that the National Pulse Memorial will be located at the Pulse nightclub site, which was always the hope of families of the 49 victims and the Pulse-impacted community,” the statement said. “We look forward to being a part of the discussion with the City of Orlando as this moves forward.”
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