- Barbara Marshall Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
It was Latin Night
at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, near closing time on June 12, 2016, when the shooting started.
Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie walked in shortly before 2 a.m. carrying a pistol and a semi-automatic Sig Sauer MCX rifle. He opened fire on patrons on the dance floor, before moving to other parts of the club. Forty-nine people died that night and 53 were wounded.
It was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
A half hour after he started, Mateen made a 911 call. He says, “I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.”
Shortly before 3 a.m., authorities get word that Mateen might be wearing a bomb. Mateen texts his wife to ask whether she’s heard news of the shooting.
About 5 a.m., police breach a wall in a bathroom. At 5:14 a.m., Mateen emerges from the bathroom, firing at police. Police return fire.
Just before 6 a.m., Orlando police text “the shooter inside the club is dead.”
To commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy, the city of Orlando and Orange County, along with arts organizations and civic groups, are holding nearly 30 events and ceremonies over the next few weeks.
On Orlando United Day Monday, people are asked to perform acts of love and kindness.
Gov. Rick Scott is asking Floridians stop at 9 a.m. Monday for a moment of silence.
“This was an attack on Orlando, our state, the Hispanic community and on the LGBTQ community. It left a solemn impact on our state that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
A Reflections and Remembrance service will be held Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pulse site, with a reading of the 49 victims’ names.
Churches in Orlando and across the world are urged to ring their bells 49 times at noon.
Last fall, the OneOrlando Fund, established by the city, distributed nearly $30 million in donations to families of the dead, who each received about $350,000, as well as lesser amounts to injured survivors.
Last month, the OnePulse Foundation announced its intention to build a museum on the Pulse site.
“We will not let hate win,” nightclub co-owner Barbara Poma said at the time.