Pulse nightclub to be turned into memorial for victims of mass shooting
The property that once housed Pulse nightclub is set to be purchased by the city or Orlando and transformed into a memorial for the victims of the deadly 2016 massacre.
Seven years ago, 49 people were killed and 53 more were wounded as a result of a hate-fuelled shooting in the LGBTQ+ club.
The devastating shooting remains the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in the history of the United States.
At the time, the massacre was recorded as the worst mass shooting in modern US history. That has since been surpassed by the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and over 850 injured.
Now, Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer has announced plans to purchase the Pulse nightclub building for $2 million in the hopes of converting it into a “proper memorial” to honour the victims and their families.
Mayor Dyer shared his plans to bring the proposal before the city council next Monday in a news release seen by The Associated Press.
It read: “In the interest of solving challenges in a way that brings our community together in love, acceptance, and partnership, which is the enduring legacy of Pulse, we have decided to purchase the land from its current owners.
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“We believe that this is the best and most appropriate way to expedite the creation of a proper memorial for the Pulse tragedy.”
Dyer’s plans to purchase the property would move along with plans to build a memorial for Pulse victims that has been in the works since the 2016 shooting occurred.
Efforts had first been led by Barbara Poma who, with Rosario Pom and Michael Panaggio, owns the Pulse nightclub property. Poma was also the executive director of the onePulse Foundation which was set up to build a memorial and museum for the victims.
However, Poma stepped down as executive director last year, and has since left the non-profit entirely. Shortly after her exit, the onePulse Foundation revealed that they would have to scale back on their original plans for a major $100 million memorial after struggling to raise funds.
Now, Mayor Dyer hopes to get plans back on track by making the memorial a collaborative project for the city of Orlando.
Every year, the people of Orlando and beyond gather to hold a vigil for the 49 victims, helping their families, friends, and loved ones to keep their memories alive.
It’s believed that around 320 people were inside Pulse nightclub when 29-year-old Omar Mateen entered the building with two guns and opened fire.
Those inside the nightclub called and texted friends and loved ones appealing for help. And then, at 2.09am, a chilling message was posted to the venue’s Facebook page: “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.”
After a three-hour standoff with a SWAT team, Mateen was shot dead.
Survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting have repeatedly called for gun law reform in the years since the incident, but to no avail thus far.
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