A person leaves a bouquet of flowers at the interim Pulse memorial on the fifth anniversary of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting. (George Wilson Foto 2021/DeFodi images via Getty)
A memorial for the victims of the tragic 2016 mass shooting inside the Pulse nightclub was set on fire in a heinous act caught on camera.
The onePulse Foundation released a video of the horrific incident on its Facebook page on Saturday (6 November). The foundation said an unidentified individual “damaged our offering wall” outside the site of the LGBT+ nightclub on 12 October at “around 8.30pm EST”.
“Three Angel banners were burned along with other items within the affected area,” the foundation reported.
In the video, the suspected arsonist, who appears to be in a wheelchair, rolled up to the monument before using a lighter to set three banners on fire. The person then quickly left the scene once the flames began to spread across the items at the memorial site.
The onePulse Foundation urged anyone with any information about the suspect in the memorial blaze to call the Orlando Police department, adding the hashtag “WeWillNotLetHateWin”.
On 12 June 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 people were injured by a heavily armed gunman at Pulse, a popular nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The venue was packed with approximately 320 people when Omar Mateen entered the building at around 2am during Pulse’s popular “Latin Night” event.
Queer people inside Pulse nightclub called and texted loved ones for help as Mateen opened fire, and the venue’s Facebook page beseeched people to “get out” and “keep running”.
Hours after he opened fire, the gunman was shot dead. Tragically, 49 people were killed and 53 others were wounded in the devastating event.
President Joe Biden signed a law shortly after the fifth anniversary of the devastating event that designated the former nightclub as a national memorial site. Biden, who was vice president when the shooting occurred, signed legislation at a White House ceremony attended by survivors of the 2016 attack on 26 June.
‘We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember,’ said President Joe Biden vowing to fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community as he designated the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a national memorial, to honor the 49 people killed in a 2016 mass shooting https://t.co/hdt1aeyHGM pic.twitter.com/2vxJrPwnxU
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 25, 2021
“A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss,” he said before signing the law. “We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember.”
He added that he hoped “no president” would “ever have to sign another monument like this” in the future.