Day of memorials ends as it started, at club


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Developments on Monday, June 12, about the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 10:45 p.m.

The owner of the gay nightclub that was the site of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history said she wanted to start and end the one-year commemoration of the tragedy at her nightclub.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma spoke at the last of four services to remember the 49 patrons who were killed June 12, 2016, at the Orlando nightclub.

Poma told the hundreds of people at the late night service outside Pulse that she was touched by their presence, given the late hour.

The first service started almost 24 hours earlier outside the club in a private ceremony for survivors, victims’ families, employees, and local officials.

In addition to the people killed, dozens more were injured inside the nightclub after gunman Omar Mateen opened fire. Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group during the massacre before being killed by police.

  • 10:20 p.m.

People dressed as angels with white billowing wings took the stage with one of them ringing a bell while the names of the 49 people killed in the massacre were read at a commemoration attended by thousands of residents in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park.

City officials estimated 15,000 people showed up for the memorial ceremony held at an amphitheater that was painted in gay-pride rainbow colors.

  • 8:00 p.m.

The “Remembering Our Angels” commemoration was delayed by less than an hour because of rain. It was the third of the four services scheduled to mark the one-year passing of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

A fountain in the center of Lake Eola Park was lit in rainbow lights.

  • 7:15 p.m.

An anti-gay protester was pushed to the ground by a police officer and handcuffed next door to the Pulse nightclub while hundreds of people gathered to remember the 2016 mass shooting.

Television stations showed officers talking to two protesters with an anti-gay sign and wearing anti-gay slogans on their shirts. The men argued with the officers that they had a right to be there.

An officer was seen holding out his hand to keep one of the men from going any further when the man pushed back against his hand. Moments later, the officer pushes the man back and the man fell down. He was handcuffed as the crowd chanted “love conquers hate.”

Spokeswomen for the police and city didn’t return an email or phone call, and it was unknown if the man was taken into custody or charged.

  • 6:10 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the Pulse nightclub victims didn’t die in vain.

Nelson, and the state’s other U.S. senator, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a resolution honoring the victims.

Nelson spoke about the massacre on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Earlier in the day, he attended a service at the nightclub before flying back to Washington.

Nelson hailed the first-responders who rescued patrons from the club and offered support for victims’ families.

  • 3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump tweeted he would never forget the victims who lost their lives in the horrific shooting.

  • 1:55 p.m.

Stars at the Tony Awards on Sunday night were asked if they thought America had gotten more tolerant in the year since the Orlando nightclub massacre, and many of them said it had not.

Actor John Lithgow said he felt America was in a “strangely retrograde time.”

Actress Glenn Close said she felt some people had grown more tolerant, but others hadn’t. “We still have work to do,” she said.

The 2016 Tony Awards were held on the day of the shooting and it was acknowledged throughout show.

  • 12:30 p.m.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma said during a midday service outside the nightclub that she planned to open a memorial at the site of the club, which has been closed since the massacre. “I miss Pulse,” she said.

She said people ask her what has changed in her life since the tragedy, and she said, “Everything.”

  • 12:20 p.m.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs encouraged the city to continue healing and talked about how the tragedy won’t define the city. They both said the courage and compassion shown after the tragedy will be what is remembered most.

The Orlando Gay Chorus performed four songs and the names of all of the victims were read as part of the ceremony.

  • 12:00 p.m.

Church bells rang 49 times throughout Orlando in memory of the shooting victims.

  • 10:55 a.m.

Hundreds of people left flowers, cards, and drawings at the Pulse nightclub to remember the victims.

Many people cried and strangers hugged each other during solemn remembrances.

Erin Anderson and Jeannine Williams, both of Orlando, came by in observance. Anderson was a friend and former co-worker of shooting victim Xavier Serrano Rosado.

Williams said she knew many of the victims because she used to live within walking distance of Pulse and was a frequent visitor. She said she planned to go to Pulse the night of the shooting, but changed her mind at the last minute and went to another club.

  • 9:20 a.m.

Hundreds of people stood shoulder-to-shoulder outside the Pulse nightclub, remembering the shooting victims.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott also ordered flags around the state to be flown at half-staff.