Orlando mayor says city will consider whether Pulse site needs more security after memorial tagged

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Pulse nightclub site where 49 people were killed in 2016 was vandalized over the weekend.


The plexiglass beneath the sign of the shuttered nightclub displays notes from people from all around the world.

But those messages were covered by graffiti when Channel 9 visited the interim memorial Sunday.

City workers removed that graffiti Monday afternoon.

Survivors and victims are calling for 24/7 security at the site.

Read: Defaced tribute sign at Pulse interim memorial draws criticism from grassroots group

Channel 9 confirmed with the city that there is no security at the site and there has not been for months, including when the city purchased the site from the nightclub owners, Barbara Poma and Rosario Poma.

Darelis Torres, who survived the shooting, said the site is the one place she and other survivors have to mourn those whom they lost.

She said the site must be better protected.

“It’s just disheartening,” Torres said. “This should be a sacred ground.”

Read: Orange County leaders discuss millions given to canceled Pulse nightclub museum

The site was previously vandalized in October 2021, when someone set fire to the memorial.

“These things are bound to happen again,” Torres said. “It’s just a matter of time if security wasn’t even in there ... I’m afraid that if this doesn’t get fixed soon, it’s going to be worse.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told Channel 9 on Monday that the recent vandalism is “appalling.”

“We don’t have 24/7 security there,” he said. “They’ve never had it. The Pomas didn’t have it.”

Read: The City of Orlando passes $2 million deal to purchase Pulse nightclub property

But Dyer said the city will consider whether security should be increased after this past weekend’s vandalism.

“We’re going to look at whether we need more security or not,” he said.

Read a full statement from his office below:

“It is appalling that anyone would deface the Pulse site as it’s a sacred and meaningful place in our community. The city of Orlando is committed to protecting and securing the Pulse site as it remains a place for many to pay their respects and honor the 49 angels. City staff documented the incident and provided information to the Orlando Police Department. This morning city staff began the process of addressing and removed the defacement this afternoon.

At the time the city inherited the Pulse site, there was no active security, and to the city’s knowledge, there had not been any security or active surveillance cameras at the site for months. While surveillance cameras act as a deterrent at a publicly accessible site, cameras alone may not prevent potential vandalism. The city is committed to securing the Pulse site and is exploring other security measures.”

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.