ORLANDO – The City of Orlando has reached a deal to purchase the property that contains the Pulse nightclub, the site of what was at the time the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The city intends to turn the building into a permanent memorial for the 49 club-goers who were killed in the shooting.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed in a press release that the sale will close pending approval from the City Council on Monday. It will facilitate a $2 million purchase from the current owners, Michael Panaggio and Barbara and Rosario Poma. Barbara Poma was the executive director of the onePulse Foundation, which for some time has sought to construct a memorial on the grounds.
The Pulse nightclub shooting was carried out on the night June 12th, 2016 by Omar Mateen. Over the course of the massacre, Mateen killed 49 people and injured an additional 53. A three-house standoff ensued before he was shot and killed by Orlando Police officers. Mateen declared allegiance to the fundamentalist group ISIS. Given Pulse’s role as one of Orlando’s foremost gay clubs, the shooting is known as one of the worst attacks on LGBTQ+ Americans in the nation’s history.
“In the interest of solving challenges in a way that brings our community together in love, acceptance and partnership, which is the enduring legacy of Pulse, we have decided to purchase the land from its current owners,” Mayor Dyer said. “We believe that this is the best and most appropriate way to expedite the creation of a proper memorial for the Pulse tragedy.”
“Good,” added Pulse survivor and LGBTQ+ activist Brandon Wolf. “It’s time for a permanent space where people can grieve, reflect, and honor those stolen from us. One created by and for the community.“