'Stop profit on blood shed:' Mother of Pulse victim seeks memorial changes

Christine Leinonen doesn't want others 'profiting' from Orlando mass shooting

By Ezzy Castro - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The mother of one of the 49 victims slain at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has created an online petition to stop others from "profiting" from the mass shooting. 

Christine Leinonen lost her son, Christopher, at the downtown nightclub three years ago.

Leinonen wants the city of Orlando to change current plans proposed for the memorial, which could include charging for admission and selling merchandise. Instead, she said she wants the building torn down and a simple reminder posted in its place. 

In the petition titled "Stop profit on Blood shed," Leinonen wrote: "I appeal to your humanity. A memorial should be a place of reverence and solace honoring the lives taken too soon so tragically."

"Orlando has enough tourist attractions. The last thing we should have is a tourist attraction based on a mass shooting," Leinonen said in a phone interview with News 6. "They want to make this some grotesque, fetish, guest, fetish freak show."

Plans recently uncovered by the Orlando Sentinel show the Pulse Memorial and Museum will cost over $40 million to design and build. It will also attract about 300,000 visitors a year. 

Last month, U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto introduced a bill that could recognize the site as a national memorial.

In 2016, the city of Orlando agreed to buy the property for more than $2 million, but the property owner, Barbara Poma, never went through with the deal.
 

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