Florida nightclub backs off plans to reopen as memorial
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – A gay nightclub in Florida that was the site in June of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history on Monday cited an “inadvertent” social media post for reports that it was reopening as a memorial to the 49 people who were killed there.
“OOPS! Looks like we got the media’s pulse racing with an inadvertent Instagram posting that incorrectly stated the Pulse Nightclub was reopening as a memorial,” said a statement attributed to Pulse nightclub, in Orlando.
The statement was provided to Reuters in an email from Sara Brady, a media contact for the club.
The news was posted late on Sunday to social media accounts for the OnePULSE Foundation, described as the official nonprofit of the club’s owners, created to assist victims. The website also described its mission as to “contribute to the creation of a permanent memorial at the existing site of Pulse Nightclub.”
“You heard right! We will be reopening Pulse as a memorial for the 49 lives who were taken from us on June 12th,” the organization said in a Facebook post that was later taken down.
An updated post said the foundation would be fundraising for a memorial, without providing specifics.
The club’s statement said that Pulse remains closed and its owner wishes to someday create a memorial at the site. It noted that no money had yet been collected.
“Pulse is NOT reopening as a memorial,” Brady said in an email, responding to a request for additional information. She did not provide further detail.
The gunman in the June 12 attack, Omar Mateen, was killed by police after he took hostages during a three-hour standoff inside the nightclub. He also wounded 53 people in the attack, during which he pledged allegiance to Islamic extremists.
U.S. authorities said Mateen was self-radicalized and acted alone, without assistance or orders from abroad.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Steve Orlofcky)