Home Canada News Whatever happened to… the Pulse nightclub shooting - Toronto

Whatever happened to… the Pulse nightclub shooting – Toronto

On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the story of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others were injured by gunfire, most of whom were LGBTQ2 and many were people of colour.

The massacre is on record as one of the deadliest mass shootings of LGBTQ2 people in the U.S.

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Brandon Wolf recalls the hours leading up to June 12, 2016 vividly. He said he made plans to go out with his friends Christopher Andrew (Drew) Leinonen and Juan Ramon Guerrero.

They had decided to go to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“I remember the same drag queen it was always at the front door, was there to take my money. I remember how packed it was. It was Latin night, so of course the music was loud. I couldn’t dance to save my life, but who cared? We were just there. We were happy,” Wolf said.

Read more:
New body cam footage captures chaotic scenes after Orlando Nightclub shootings

At 2:02 a.m. a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun walked into the tightly packed club and began firing.

Wolf said he was in the bathroom when the first shots rang out.

“I remember for some reason the posters above the urinals, they were colourful, there were drag queens,” he said. “I remember how cold the water was in the sink in the bathroom. I remember a plastic cup with someone’s half-empty drink that was sort of teetering on the edge, looking like it might fall off. I distinctly remember the first sound of gunshots.

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New police body cam footage captures chaos inside Pulse Nightclub shootings


New police body cam footage captures chaos inside Pulse Nightclub shootings – Nov 11, 2016

“In my own confusion, I think initially I thought that there was just a malfunction in the music. Something had gone wrong and then there was this almost eerie pause between bursts of gunfire. The music still raging in the background, the beats still thumping in the floor but something felt really off and it was at that point that about a dozen people rushed into the bathroom with us and they had this look on their faces like they had seen the purest form of evil.”

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Wolf was separated from his friends Leinonen and Guerrero and managed to escape the club, and in the days and weeks following, people gathered to mourn those killed that night.

For Wolf, the scars from that night continue to follow him and countless others who witnessed the tragedy at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.

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Read more:
Orlando nightclub shooting photos show how police freed people

On this episode, Vella speaks with Wolf about his experience as a survivor and how witnessing the shooting that night changed the course of his life.

She also finds what happened to the nightclub and the investigation into the mass shooting and if the events led to any changes in the U.S.

Contact:

Twitter: @ericavella

Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

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