Strangers, loved ones hold hands outside Pulse on 2nd anniversary of massacre
ORLANDO, Fla. – Tuesday marks the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando that claimed 49 lives. Strangers and the victims' loved ones held hands overnight outside the nightclub, sharing a moment of silence for the victims with a message reclaiming the day: More love, less hate. "I think it's important that we remain united and remain strong," Pulse's entertainment director Blue Star said. Rick Scott has officially proclaimed June 12 Pulse Remembrance Day, tweeting Tuesday, "This morning, @flannscott and I visited the Pulse memorial to honor and remember the 49 innocent lives that were lost two years ago. Those on social media also called June 12 Orlando United Day.
Federal report sheds new light on OPD's Pulse response
The report outlines the timeline of events for that day, including the minutes on Jun. 12 when Pulse shooter Omar Mateen parked his rented car at the Pro Tint & Detailing shop and began walking toward the nightclub. Read: Pulse Victims RememberedThe report released observations and lessons that the agency should learn from, including the initial response in the six minutes before officers entered the club after the attack began. The report also noted that a greater level of coordination was needed at the scene and across the agencies. Their body armor "did not provide sufficient protection against the .223 caliber rounds fired by the suspect," the report outlines.
Pulse survivor honors best friend killed in Orlando nightclub massacre
ORLANDO, Fla. – A survivor of the Orlando nightclub massacre has spent the past year trying to honor the life of his best friend, who was among the 49 people killed in last year's Pulse shooting. "Your only options are to hide or to run away," Brandon Wolf said as he recalled the June 12, 2016, shooting that killed his best friend. Wolf, 28, escaped uninjured, but he's spent the last year trying to keep the memory of his best friend alive. "He said the thing we never say enough is that we love each other," Wolf said. Wolf said the hurt still remains one year later, but he knows that love will conquer hate.
Suspicious package found outside Pulse nightclub not hazardous
ORLANDO, Fla. – A suspicious bag found Friday morning at Pulse nightclub in Orlando was found to be non-hazardous, according to the Orlando Fire Department. A pink suitcase was left in front of the fence, covered in art work, that surrounds the club. Roads around the nightclub on South Orange Avenue were closed as law enforcement investigated the incident. As a precaution, businesses were also evacuated between West Kaley Street and East Harding Street on South Orange, according to the Orlando Fire Department. The nightclub was the target of the deadliest terrorist attack in recent U.S. history on June 12, 2016, in which 49 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured.
Judge says Pulse gunman's wife should stay in jail, for now
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) –The wife of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooter must remain in jail, at least for the time being, a federal judge in Florida ruled Thursday, a day after a magistrate judge in California said she could be released. A day earlier, a federal magistrate judge in Oakland, California, ordered Salman's release as early as Friday, saying it's "debatable" whether the government has enough evidence to convict her. U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu also said Salman, 31, is not dangerous and there is no proof she has ties to the Islamic State group or holds extremist views. Salman's husband, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack at the Pulse gay nightclub on June 12. Salman's attorney, Linda Moreno, said the motion seemed a rehash of what was argued in the California courtroom.
Gates surrounding Pulse nightclub open to public for mural unveiling
ORLANDO, Fla. – The gates surrounding Pulse nightclub in Orlando were opened to the public Thursday night for the first time since the June 12 shooting that claimed 49 lives, WKMG reports. The event was orchestrated by oil heiress Nats Getty, who said she knew someone who was inside Pulse the night of the shooting. She said she decided to hold the event on Spirit Day, a day designed to bring attention to LGBTQ bullying. In this circumstance, it shouldn't be a fight, but it is the right fight," she said. The gates at Pulse are opening tonight to the public for the first time since June 12.
'Star Wars' fan starts petition to honor Pulse victim as franchises' first LGBT movie character
Yehl wanted to remember his friend the way he knew him, as a "big nerd" who loved Pokemon, video games and of course, Star Wars. Then Yehl got an idea, what if he could get Leinonen honored as the first LGBT Star Wars movie character? Yehl started a Change.org petition addressed to President of LucasFilms, Kathleen Kennedy, Walt Disney Company CEO, Bob Iger, and anyone behind Star Wars. In the petition Yehl gives suggestions on how his friend can be honored – such as using his likeness, or running his name through a Star Wars Name Generator. They quickly learned that they both loved movies, and were nerds at heart.
Muslims stand with LGBT community after Orlando attack; refuse to apologize for shooter
"Muslims don't have to carry the guilt," Shabbir Motorwala, of the Coalition of South Florida Organizations, said. Dr. Lea Brown of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches, which primarily serves the LGBT community. Brown told him that her church and the LGBT community didn't hold any ill feelings toward Muslims. Brown said the event was possible because of a strong relationship her congregation already had with the Muslim community. "They were part of the LGBT community in Orlando and they were giving flowers to any Muslim they saw in the crowd," Saied said.
Chicago man brings crosses to Orlando to honor victims of nightclub shooting
ORLANDO, Fla. – People from all over the country are traveling to Orlando to pay their respects to the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre. A man from Illinois, Greg Zanis, drove down to bring 49 white crosses to Orlando, each bearing the name of one of the victims. Zanis' crosses also bear the face of each victim who was killed at the gay nightclub Pulse Orlando. Crystal Alvarez, who recently moved to Orlando from Miami, knew two people who were killed in the shooting. "We're not going to let this stop our love, because love is going to be way stronger than this."
Gov. Rick Scott attends funerals for Orlando shooting victims
Rick Scott attended a funeral Thursday for Eric Ortiz-Rivera, one of the 49 people who died in a shooting at an Orlando nightclub. "My daughter's about the same age as a lot of these individuals that were slaughtered, murdered," Scott said. Ortiz-Rivera's funeral was one of several held for the victims of Sunday's massacre, which has been deemed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. "It feels like a semi-truck ran over your heart a million and one times" Alberto Capo, the victim's uncle, said. His girlfriend wanted to teach him how to salsa dance, so they went to Latin night at Pulse Orlando.
Gunman apparently searched Facebook during Orlando nightclub attack
ORLANDO, Fla. – While his victims texted heartbreaking last words to loved ones from the blood-drenched bathrooms, Omar Mateen apparently went on Facebook to measure the shockwaves his attack on a gay nightclub was generating. He searched for the terms "Pulse Orlando" and "Shooting," according to a letter released by a Senate committee. Johnson did not explain how the committee obtained the information about Mateen's Facebook activity. According to the letter, Mateen made his series of Facebook posts and searches before and during the attack. "America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state," Mateen wrote, according to the letter.
'They want more disasters to happen,' Omar Mateen says in 2012 documentary
FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A clip from a 2012 documentary showing Omar Mateen at work was discovered Wednesday on YouTube. "They want more disasters to happen because that's where their money-making is," Mateen said in the video. It’s unclear if Mateen knew he was being taped for the 2012 documentary about the BP oil spill. "My son was a victim and got trapped in the scheme of this ISIS idea," Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, said. Seddique Mateen, who has been candid in his conversations about his son, wouldn't say if he thought his daughter-in-law could have prevented the attack.