ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Tuesday marked one month since the terror attack at Pulse nightclub that changed The City Beautiful forever and took the lives of 49 people.
The emotion is still front and center, with dozens still paying tribute to the victims.
Many of the people visiting the memorial at the gay club are locals, but many are from all over the country, many of whom are taking time out of their vacations to honor those who lost their lives.
Special Section: Pulse terror attack
One woman’s journey from Missouri was deeply personal.
Traci Lynn and her daughter came to Pulse with flowers Tuesday to pay their respects.
Innocent people gathered the night of June 12 to enjoy music, dancing, and each other’s company, just like her brother, who is gay, had done back home that very night.
“I am so protective over him. And it just hurt me that somebody would do this to people that I love,” said Lynn.
Dozens from United Synagogue Youth stopped at the site along the way as they traveled on the east coast from New York.
The group advocates for tolerance and acceptance, and said the shooting was a teachable moment for them.
“We support everyone. We want to pay our respects to those who lost their lives senselessly,” said Mike Hirsch.
Forty-nine people were shot and killed and 53 of others were injured, some critically, when Omar Mateen opened fire inside the club with an assault style rifle and a handgun.
At one point, he told a 911 dispatcher he had explosives and would plant them on people all over the club.
He was shot and killed by SWAT officers from Orlando police and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as he tried to escape through a hole they blasted through a wall to rescue his hostages.
Cab driver Rasheem Lewis said being at the site makes it very real to him.
“You can actually hear the voices crying out. Can you imagine being in there? Having fun, and then life changes just that quick,” he said.
Law enforcement from a number of agencies are still protecting the crime scene, and at the same time, are making sure people who come to the site feel safe.
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