Released footage shows arsonist setting fire to Pulse nightclub memorial

A vandal set fire to the memorial wall which displays banners, photos, flowers and rainbow lights in honour of those who lost their lives at Pulse nightclub in 2016.

Split screen: arsonist setting Pulse memorial on fire (left), Pulse memorial outdoor wall (right)
Image: Twitter

In a video released by the onePULSE foundation, a figure in a wheelchair and wearing a baseball cap is seen setting fire to the memorial dedicated to the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

The arson incident occurred on October 12, but the onePULSE foundation has just released the security footage on their Facebook page in the hopes that it will help lead to an arrest.

“On October 12 around 8:30 p.m. EST, an individual damaged our offering wall.  Three Angel banners were burned along with other items within the affected area,” onePULSE said alongside the video release, before encouraging the public to contact authorities if they recognise the culprit. The foundation also used the #WeWillNotLetHateWin.

Although three banners were burned the overall damage was, thankfully, minimal. The vandal fled the scene as soon as the banners were ablaze and the fire died almost entirely on its own, although a passerby who happened upon the Pulse memorial stomped out the final dwindling flames.

“Fire investigators are working the case,” said Jenny DeSantis, spokesperson of the Fire Department. “This is an open and active investigation.”

On June 12, 2016, 49 victims tragically lost their lives on ‘Latin Night’ at the LGBTQ+ hotspot, Pulse nightclub, while 53 others were wounded in the three-hour stand-off between gunman Omar Mateen and law enforcement officers.

With approximately 320 people in the venue at the time of attack, the first shots rang out at around 2 AM and eventually the gunman was killed by SWAT teams who managed to breach the building.

Pulse owner, Barbara Poma, went on to establish onePULSE, the non-profit behind the temporary memorial that came under this fiery attack in October. Poma has a goal of establishing a permanent memorial nearby in the vicinity of Pulse nightclub.

About its origins, the onePULSE foundation said, “The Pulse Memorial is a sanctuary of quiet reflection and love dedicated to honoring the senseless loss of innocent life and remembering the horrible attack that occurred on June 12, 2016.”

Five years after the tragic event, which is the shooting with the second-highest body count at the hand of a single gunman in US history, President Joe Biden signed a law that designated the former nightclub a national memorial site. He signed the legislation at a ceremony attended by the event’s survivors and said that he hopes no future presidents will have to sign anything like that again.

“A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss,” he said at the ceremony. “We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember.”

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