Friday marks 4 years since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando

49 people killed in attack

Four years ago Friday, a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando’s SoDo neighborhood, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others.
Four years ago Friday, a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando’s SoDo neighborhood, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Four years ago Friday, a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando’s SoDo neighborhood, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others.

The impacts of the attack are still felt across the City Beautiful years later, with murals and rainbows serving as a reminder that we will not let hate win while, at the same time, honoring the victims and survivors impacted by the tragic event.

Since June 12, 2016, the city has made plans to turn the site of Florida’s deadliest mass shooting into a memorial and museum where mourners can go to reflect on the lives lost. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

Though less permanent, there have been countless other tributes and exhibits across Central Florida in the years that have gone by.

Architects behind the design of a memorial for the Pulse Nightclub shooting said they want to add a walkway through the nightclub for people to walk through.
Architects behind the design of a memorial for the Pulse Nightclub shooting said they want to add a walkway through the nightclub for people to walk through.

We’ve also heard from survivors and family members of victims who’ve fought for change, going as far as to testify in front of Congress for tougher gun laws in hopes of preventing something like what they went through from happening again.

They’ve also provided us with raw stories showcasing the challenges they’ve faced recovering from gunshot wounds and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. While the scars may never fully heal, many are trying to do what they can to have a positive impact on their community.

[READ: 49 bell tolls ring throughout Orlando, 4 years after Pulse nightclub attack | Rainbow emerges during Pulse remembrance ceremony]

In 2018, the wounds were reopened when the gunman’s widow stood trial for her alleged role in the terror attack. Her federal trial included the showing of horrific footage from inside the nightclub that provided an all-too-real look at the horror that unfolded inside the gay bar. Ultimately, she was found not guilty.

While June 12, known as Orlando United Day, is usually marked somber gatherings with candles and moments of silence, this year will be different.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the usual events have been moved to an online format for the first time ever that will allow all those who wish to take part the chance to do so without the risk of falling ill.

Regardless of how it is honored, June 12 will be a day Orlandoans will never forget.

“I think our online ceremony is beautiful but is it going to replace the feeling you get being here? No, it can’t,” Pulse owner Barbara Poma said.

Poma said it hasn't felt like it's been four years.

“Four years sounds like a long time, but it doesn’t feel like a long time. And not being together makes it compounded, so it’s a really strange year for us,” Poma said.

Poma said even though the community can't gather for the remembrance ceremony, we still need to remember and honor our angels.

"I think it's always going to be important to remember no matter the social climate, no matter the pandemic, I think there is something about humanity when you come together, the support you have for one another, just being together physically helps people heal," Poma said.

Regardless of how it is honored, June 12 will be a day Orlandoans will never forget.


About the Authors:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!