Pulse Night of Remembrance Date in the current year: June 12, 2024

Pulse Night of Remembrance Pulse Night of Remembrance is observed annually by members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the United States and abroad to honor the memory of 49 people who were killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016.

On June 11, 2016, the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, was hosting its weekly Latin Night. At around 2 a.m. the party was winding down, but over 300 people were still inside the club. The perpetrator, a 29-year-old security guard named Omar Mateen, arrived at the club at around the same time. He was armed with a 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle.

Upon entering the club through its southern entrance, Mateen began to shoot patrons. Initially, some of them thought that the sounds of gunfire were part of the music or firecrackers, but a bouncer immediately realized that the gunshots were real and opened a latched door, allowing several dozen patrons to escape.

Adam Gruler, a police officer working extra duty as a security guard, called for reinforcements. He initially didn’t plan to confront the perpetrator, realizing that his service pistol would be no match against high caliber weapons, but when Mateen shoot two patrons who tried to escape through an emergency exit, Gruler fired at him, but missed.

In response, Mateen returned to the building and continued shooting. In less then five minutes, he fired about 200 rounds. Additional police officers began to arrive at the scene at 2:04 a.m. and engaged Mateen. Eventually the perpetrator took a number of patrons hostage in one of the bathrooms. He called 911 and a local news television channel, informing them that he was the shooter and saying that he acted on behalf of ISIL in retaliation for a US-led airstrike in Iraq that killed Abu Waheeb.

Since attempts to negotiate with Mateen were unsuccessful, it was decided to storm the building. At 5:07 a.m., a policeman drove an armored vehicle through a building wall, and 14 SWAT officers entered the nightclub through the breach. Mateen was killed in the resulting shootout.

49 people, not including the perpetrator, were killed in the Pulse shooting; 38 victims died at the scene and 11 at local hospitals where they were taken after the attack. Over 50 people, including a SWAT officer, were injured. About 90% of the victims were of Hispanic background, since the shooting took place during the Latin night. The age of the victims varied from 19 to 50, but most were young people between the ages of 21 and 37.

The Pulse nightclub shooting is the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the American history, the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, and the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ+ people in the United States.

Every year on June 12, LGBT organizations hold remembrance ceremonies to honor the victims of the mass shooting in the Pulse Nightclub. One of such ceremonies is organized by the onePULSE Foundation that was established by the owner of the club in the aftermath of the tragedy to create a sanctuary of hope. The foundation runs the Pulse Interim Memorial, supports educational programs, and provides scholarships.

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