Today (June 12) marks seven years since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. On that fateful evening, a gunman entered the LGBTQ-friendly event space and opened fire. Forty-nine lives were lost that night, and another 53 people were injured.
On June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen became a mass murderer. He was killed by an Orlando SWAT team after a three-hour standoff with police. Today, survivors, community members and individuals throughout the world remember those who were ambushed and gunned down in one of the worst tragedies America has ever seen. Central Florida congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost referred to the shooter’s actions as “senseless gun violence, armed bigotry, hate [and] homophobia.” Others, such as the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Senate, remembered the victims.
Pulse nightclub, which remains open, also shared a social media tribute for the patrons killed that night. “Leading up to [the] June 12 Annual Remembrance Ceremony, we will honor each of our 49 angels every hour to mark seven years since the tragedy at Pulse nightclub. We will never forget,” the business tweeted over the weekend. “A U.S. Army Reserve captain, Antonio selflessly served his country and was known for his smile and kindness,” the bar tweeted with a photo of one of the fallen. “A longtime employee at OneBlood donation center, Rodolfo was passionate about helping others and providing for his family,” they captioned another image.
Brandon Wolf was there when the shooting happened and lost two of his closest friends in the targeted attack. “Seven years ago, we went to Pulse Nightclub — our refuge. The place we danced with abandon. Sang ‘til we lost our voices. Lived without hesitation. Then, with over 110 rounds from an assault rifle, a man filled with hate tore it apart. Drew and Juan never made it home,” the survivor wrote in a thread mourning the loss and sharing photos of the trio together.
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