tv CNN Special Report Pulse of Orlando Terror at the Nightclub CNN June 30, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
be watching see some legislative analogy in that video, keep it to yourself. that's it for us. thanks for watching 360. our special report, the pulse of orlando: terror at the nightclub start news. the following is a cnn special report. on june 12, 2016, 49 people were murdered here at the pulse nightclub in orlando, florida. it was one of the worst mass shootings in u.s. history. in the year since, many of the survivors, as well as those who lost family, friends, and loved ones have tried to find purpose in their pain and turn their grief into action. this is their story.
>> emergency 911. >> hi, i'm calling because there is a shoot-out at pulse the nightclub. >> we're hearing gunshots like crazy. >> how many are shooting? >> sounds like two. i don't know. >> we'll get some help for you. can you tell me anything? >> oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, my god. >> we are in the bathroom in pulse. there is two people in here. >> loading up now. >> he is reloading in the bathroom. >> my son was at the nightclub with his boyfriend and other friends. and i know that his boyfriend has been shot multiple times and is in the emergency room. but i don't know where my son is. no one can tell me where my son is.
if he's been shot, if he's dead. no one knows. but they told me there are fatalities. >> we're going to try to keep the focus where we think it belongs, on the people whose lives were cut short. we're going to start by honoring them. they're more than a list of names. they're people who loved and were loved. they are people who had families and friends and dreams. edward sotomayor jr. his family said he was witty, charming. and that he always left things better than he found them. stanley almodova iii, just 23. luis omar. luis vielma, working at the harry potter ride in orlando.
juan ramon guerrero. his cousin said juan came out to his family just this year and was afraid they might not accept him, but they did, and they embraced his boyfriend as well. christopher andrew leinone, known as drew. his mom says he established the gay-straight alliance at his high school. where does your strength come from? you're smiling. there's a lot of people -- >> i love him. i could be sad, and i have incredibly sad moments. and i could be angry, and i've been given a license to be angry. but when you want to know about the love, the love is going to usurp the hate. that's a given. >> you feel that love. >> oh, i feel that love with christopher, with his friends, with you, with the orlando community. christopher was orlando's child.
even though i gave birth to him, orlando is now the adoptive mother. i'm christine leinonen, and my son christopher leinonen was brutally murdered along with 48 others on june 12th, 2016. i feel like the last day of my innocence was june 11th. then june 12th, everything changed. it went from just being simple and quiet to being horrific. loudly horrific. >> he was incredibly lucky to have you as a mom. >> my luck started when i gave birth to my son. >> christine, thank you so much for talking to us. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. [ applause ]
>> i was shot about three times in my leg, so i had fallen down. i tried to get back up but everyone started running everywhere. i got trampled over. i shattered and broke the bones on my left leg. all i could hear was the shotgun, one after another. people screaming. people yelling for help. he's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor, making sure they're dead. i can hear the shotgun is closer. i look over. he shoots the girl next to me. i'm just there laying down thinking, i'm next, i'm dead. so i don't know how but by the glory of god he shoots toward my head but it hits my hand. then he shoots me again and it hits the side of my hip. ihad no reaction. i was just prepared to just stay
there, laying down so he won't know that i'm alive. >> my name is angel cologne, and i am a survivor of the pulse nightclub shooting. there were bodies around me. blood around me. i couldn't believe what i was seeing. i would pinch myself. you know, expecting to wake up from this dream, you know. i'd tell myself, angel, wake up. this is not real. this is not real. you know, i never woke up from that dream. >> when i arrived on scene and was able to go inside, what i noticed was it was kind of dark. i just began yelling, "hey, guys. come on out. come on out. we got you. we got you."
and just unfortunately, it took a minute, but realizeyd the weren't faking. >> there's not many police officers who have seen what you saw. >> you can see one or two bodies. but when you see that many, you know, it is a massacre. >> my name is officer omar delgado, first responder the night of june 12th, 2016 for club pulse. i, for the first time in my life, felt like i wasn't coming home. >> how do you deal with the things you saw? >> it's rough. it's difficult closing your eyes, trying to go to sleep. you get nothing but flashbacks. people say, oh, that'll eventually go away. just waiting for that to happen. >> my name is ginnett mccoy, and i am a pulse survivor. it was all about survival.
surviving. get out. get out. get out. get out. don't get shot. once i exited the club, i saw my buddy, juan, shot in the leg. and automatically, of course, i'm taking off my shirt. and i wrap him up really tight. it's hard to tell yourself that you believe in god, but it is hard to say that i am here because of god. because, i'm sorry, i don't believe that god would take those people the way that they were taken. i felt bullets passing me. i felt them. i felt the heat. i felt the fire. how did it miss me? sometimes, i tell myself, gosh, if i could have just maybe taken a bullet for somebody, they'd still survive. there is nothing proud about being a survivor, not for me. there's nothing proud about
that. >> please help me welcome the pulse orlando family. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> my name is barbara, the owner of pulse nightclub. it was so sad. it was so sad to see something so happy become so awful. >> we opened pulse to be a place where you felt safe, and we're going to rebuild that pulse. you can bet on it, orlando. >> all of this outpouring of love to people of orlando who showed up at the vigils, stood with us and cried with us, we find comfort in all of that. i think for all us, we just wanted to go back.
we just didn't want it to have happened. >> eric ivan ortiz rivera. a friend says he was always willing to help everybody and sacrificed a lot for his family. peter o. gonzalez cruz. he can make anyone smile, his friends said. kimberly morris. anthony disla. jonathan antonio vega. cory james connell. he was 21. geraldo a. ortiz jimenez. enrique rios. friends said he was cool and said don't let the world hold you back from your dreams. eddie justice, texted his mother from the club saying "mommy, i love you."
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ready? right there. >> i was shot six times. >> slowly back down. >> the shooter left to another room. few minutes later, that's when i heard someone coming in the patio door. i looked up and it was omar delgado. >> i grabbed my flashlight and i start scanning the floor. and nothing but bodies. and i noticed a couple people started to move. that's when i went into action. he's got bullet wounds in him, and he's bleeding out. >> i put my hands out, yelled out, and he came straight to me. he grabbed me, and he took me out. >> baby steps as you go. >> if omar would not have saved me and i stayed in that club, i'm afraid i would have passed away from all the blood. >> we so appreciate that you're here, angel. >> in the press conference i did, i explained that i wished that i could meet the officer that saved my life. they made it happen. >> how you doing, angel? >> i'm good. how are you? >> good.
my name is officer omar delgado. i'm one of the ones that helped you get out of harm's way, man. i need a big hug from you, man. glad you're doing good, man. so glad you're doing good. i'm so glad you're alive, man. i'm sure your family is very glad you're alive. glad i was there to help you out, man. i know you were in pain, man. i saw it. but you're better now, man. >> thank you so much. >> you're going to be okay. >> that hug, i guess, sparked it all. i sat in my room for a day or so just wondering, did anybody make it? you're talking an individual that you never met before, and the way he held me that day, i mean, i can still feel him. he didn't want to let me go. and i didn't want to let him go. because it was closure that i needed, knowing that he made it.
he was alive. >> everyone experienced something different. we'll get through it, man. i'm glad you're okay though. i'm really glad you're okay. >> this man is going to be in my life forever. he saved my life. there's really no way i can repay him. >> very glad to hear that you are okay. >> yes. >> you know, i felt that love, you know. the first hug we gave each other. it was special. [ fireworks ]. >> i try to go back to work fourth of july weekend. of all weekends to go back, the fireworks and everything. that night, i was with my partner, and he made a traffic stop. and some guy fled out of the car. for some odd reason, the sonic
boom hits. it freaked me out. all i kept thinking about was that night of pulse. i can recall how everybody was positioned. i can recall the blood. i can see where a lot of the gunshots, the rounds, went into these people. there are so many things that trigger the remembrance of that night. an iphone ringing. hearing that sound for hours and knowing that there's a loved one trying to call that other person that was inside that club. i mean, it was so bad that there was a phone that started floating away in blood because of the vibration of the phone. it literally moved feet away. just knowing that these people were never, ever going to pick
up the phone, that is the worst feeling in the world. that was the night where i spoke with my sergeant and said, listen, i'm not ready to come back. [ applause ] >> it takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times. i know this because last month, my son christopher, his boyfriend juan, and 47 others were murdered at a club in orlando. the first time that i spoke out was in desperation to find my son. unfortunately, he doesn't have a
voice anymore. i'm obligated to speak for him. the weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute. one minute for a gun to fire so many shots. five minutes for a bell to honor so many lives. i'm glad common sense gun policy was in place the day christopher was born, but where was that common sense the day he died? i consider myself just a common sense gun safety advocate. my son's killer was a crazy, violent young man who couldn't figure out how to be happy and
had easy access to weapons. the way to help us is to ban mentally ill or domestic abusers from having access to these weapons. we would all be safer. >> i do believe in my constitutional right to bear arms. i'm a huge believer in that. i need to make sure i havey concealed weapons license. prior to pulse, i had my gun inside my home. after pulse, i made sure to carry it with me. let's do this. back in the mindset. let's go. so beyond me being a personal trainer, i compete in body building competitions.
it took me about two months to step foot in the gym. my girlfriend took me to the gym finally, because i just couldn't do it. i was shaking. i was sick. i was nauseous. what's the weight? the way i stand in the gym, i like to be in a position where i like to face the windows, just to see the people coming in. but at the end of the day, any time you're anywhere in this day and age, you're really not safe. you're not. i don't want to find myself in that situation like pulse ever again. i never want to be in a situation where somebody has a gun and i don't. because i would feel too helpless. that night, i was helpless.
the point of the hollow point is once it connects and once it hits the body, the bullet opens up. so it creates more damage, and it's going to stop the person who, you know, obviously trying to do you harm. that's what i like to see. i think about that one shot. it's all it takes. the sounds of the gun still bring back memory. you know, you just learn to cope with it. i absolutely feel that if i or anyone in that club would have had a gun, the situation would have been different because we would have been the good guys. would i have tried to kill the guy trying to kill everybody in that club? absolutely. without a doubt. i wanted so badly to take one of the officers guns to go in there. cause for me, i felt i had
more balls than they did. my friends, my family, everybody was in there. there's a lot of feelings. bringing my brother there, my friends there. they came that night to support me. so i feel like i brought all of this on everyone. it's not a good feeling. it isn't. that's why i tell myself that i never want to be in that situation. so if it happens, i want to be prepared. i'm guaranteeing myself a different ending. a positive ending. >> mercedes marisol flores. her father says she was a happy girl with so many dreams. deonka drayton. miguel honorato. jason benjamin. darryl burt.
he was 29. frankie velazquez. he was 50. amanda alvear. she was a nursing student at the university of south florida, was 25. jean carlos mendez perez. perez's long-time partner, luis wilson deion, he was 37. they died together. step two: choose la quinta. the only hotel where you can redeem loyalty points for a free night-instantly and win at business. whattwo servings of veggies? v8 or a powdered drink? ready, go. ahhhhhhhh! shake! shake! shake! shake! shake! done! you gotta shake it!
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what did you want pulse to be? >> i wanted to create a really beautiful space that the gay community could be really, really proud of. >> a place for gay and lesbians, transgender people, friends and family to come together. >> yes. >> a safe spot? >> yes. >> i established pulse in honor of my brother, john, who passed away from hiv/aids complications in 1991. >> was the name pulse, did it have a particular meaning to you? >> yes. it had dual meanings. pulse of orlando and, for us, keeping his heart beat alive. >> keeping your brother's heart beat alive. >> right. it had a dual purpose. it was the most perfect word we could come up with. >> i can't imagine what that first time going inside was like. >> i equate it to when you think it can't get worse. you think, okay, i've made it this far.
then something else comes and you learn that there is actually a darker place to go. that was a really, really dark moment. ♪ lord, i love to sing your praises ♪ ♪ i'm so glad you're in my life ♪ >> my name is reverend terry steve pearce. i'm the senior pastor of joy metropolitan community church created for and by the lgbt community, open to all. hate walked into a club. 1.4 miles from here. that young man thought hate would silence us and take us back to closets that were not meant for anything but clothes and shoes and fabulous ones, at that, right? [ applause ] pulse is a community in and of itself, but it is part of our
community. the attack here in orlando caused each of us to rethink our own safety and our own ability to be out. i'm more afraid now than i was then. i'm more conscious of people walking in with backpacks or something large. i don't close my eyes during the prayer anymore. i used to. i don't anymore. i call pulse and many other lgbt nightclubs sanctuaries because churches have been so against the lgbt community, particularly the evangelical church. they have christianized the hate. after the pulse attack, dr. joel hunter wanted to meet with me, the lead pastor of one of the largest evangelical churches in the city, if not the state.
♪ the lamb that was slain >> i'm dr. joel hunter, senior pastor, a congregation of about 20,000 people. the pulse event hit me so hard, not because i had so many relationships in that community, but because i had so few. there is kind of a synchronicity between you and the group. >> instantly, our conversation was like two old friends, like we'd known each other a long time. >> reaching out to her gave me a special kind of education. i had known gay people or the gay culture in how vulnerable that community was, rejected by their own family. and because of my conservative evangelical background, i'm part of that rejection. i've been part of the hurt, which really hurts as i think about it. >> it always moves me because
not only is it my story, it is the story of so many people that i meet. thank you. and it's -- it hurts every time i hear it. it doesn't change. >> the magnitude of this kind of devastation shakes everybody so personally to their core. how can i be a different person? so that i'm not a contributing factor to this ever happening again. i'm not complicit in something like this. it is the unintended benefit of a heinous act like this, is that it teaches you how much compassion that you never would have had before, but it's in there. and something like this draws it out. >> hate builds walls. it was the beginning of an unlikely but wonderful friendship.
tragedy levels social topography. i believe that was one of the ways that pulse will bring more people together. i'm grateful. i want you to rise up however you can. be love. do love. show love. even when they don't. even when they don't. [ applause ] >> martin benitez torres. he was a college student in puerto rico visiting family in orlando. juan chavez martinez. he was just 25. jerald wright. he was 31. leroy valentine fernandez. he was 25. tevin crosby, 25.
angel padro. he was 28. gilberto menendez. he was 25. javier reyes, he was 40. shane evan tomlinson was 33. brenda lee marquez maccool. she had 11 kids, beat cancer twice, and often went dancing at pulse with her gay son. she supported him that much. it's balanced... it's easy-drinking... it's refreshing... ♪ if you've got the time ♪ it's what american lager was born to be. ♪ we've got the beer. ♪ welcome to the high life. ♪ miller beer.
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we think of things and sometimes in degrees of numbers. and it was nine days before christmas, and i had to identify my son's clothing because i was signing for them. and there were nine bullet hole s, so i was -- for me, that was so, so hard. i just kept saying, nine days before christmas, my son got shot nine times. how much hatred or anger or evil must somebody have to shoot someone nine times?
>> grief is different for everybody. i think for people who haven't, you know, experienced the loss of, in your case, a child, it is hard for them to sort of imagine -- >> it really -- i consider grief to be my friend now. >> how so? >> almost like a she. i call her a she. that she decides when she's going to behave, and she decides when she needs attention. and she decides when she's going to act up. she's just a constant part of my life. that's a connection that i feel like i have with you because you understand grief from a horrific loss of your brother. and so we're a family now. so that's one way that i am dealing with grief.
i made this family of people who understand it. today, i'm headed to meet with other victims' moms. cecelia. >> hi. >> so sorry. >> i started a group for the mothers or children or survivors of those who have died. >> nice to meet you. >> hi, nice to meet you. >> i know that evil spoke to my son. he asked him, was he black? my son said, yes. he said, well, i don't have nothing against y'all, because y'all suffered enough. he still shot him. >> if i have a way to deal with a certain grief, the same strategies could work for them, whatever it is. whether it is becoming an activist or an advocate.
>> guys, we have to do something. our children are dying. it's not just ours. i mean, we have -- it's an epidemic. >> yeah. >> we can support each other when we need it because this is going to be now the rest of our lives. so that's the secret for our happiness to move forward after this horrific tragedy. >> all our children are in heaven. they're in heaven. i honestly believe that. they're in heaven. >> just recently, me and my girlfriend, we had the opportunity to be a part of a very, very huge campaign together, the love has no labels. ♪ i got a crick in my neck >> it was a different type of kiss cam. they had all different kind of couples.
me and my girlfriend were the lesbian couple. and then the kiss. it was a proud moment. just to stand there, to be proud, to have my hands up. the crowd cheering. it feels good. it feels good because you feel accepted. i think that the lgbt community now is thriving here in orlando. do i feel that in certain parts of the country, we've taken a couple steps back? hatred starts coming back. you know, sometimes, you hear cars passing by, to this day, passing pulse, and you hear somebody scream the f word, faggot. so there's still hate there. we've created something great in regards to the legacy, but hate is not something that's going to disappear.
>> so tonight, we are celebrating my mom's birthday. omar delgado is here tonight with us, as well. he is meeting a few of my family members for the first time. they're super excited because them, as well, they're very appreciative of what he did. >> hola. >> there's been plenty of times that i've been down and angel stepped up and returned the favor. it's been a struggle ever since day one of june 12th. i'm suffering from ptsd and depression. i feel he's -- he has saved my emotional state. >> omar. >> i strongly believe a friendship like we have will continue making the city of orlando stronger. because if our relationship has boosted each other up, imagine this community. when you see thousands of people
gather around and accept the lgbt community, it's just going to keep growing and growing. >> feeling that love from other people and knowing that they're there for you is amazing. and omar has done that a lot. this is my friend, brother. i love him. >> should we go inside? >> sure. so this is the space. that's the front door. >> was anyone actually killed outside, or was it all inside? >> inside. it's inside. >> the shooting didn't begin until -- >> didn't start shooting until he was in the main room. so --
>> what's it like for you when you come back here now? >> it is two things. sometimes, i come here because i'm actually really anxious. my anxiety gets really high, and i will actually just come here and care for the property or walk through it. it just kind of calms me a little bit, which i know sounds crazy, because there are people who can't come here at all. sometimes i come here and have a minute. you let yourself feel it. sometimes it's a -- never know what it is going to be like. >> you live around here? >> yeah. this was a bathroom. this is the hallway between the bathrooms. then this is the other bathroom.
someone left flowers here. >> both -- all these walls were blown out? >> yeah, they were all blown out. >> so this is where swat teams entered. >> mm-hmm. yes, this is where they entered. it's my first time back here. >> it is? >> mm-hmm. yup. >> to see this up close, it's very -- >> powerful. >> yeah. yeah. >> what do you want the spot to become? >> i want the spot to become whatever the community wants it to become. you know, it may have been a memorial to my brother when i did it, but now it needs to
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>> i've become a voice in the community. >> hi i'm angel. >> sometimes i'll feel like -- because so open. after going through a tragedy like that it's something that you're consistently thinking about. but i don't let that stop me for doing ber for the community. >> i would like to introduce agent wong. >> i think about this every day. >> may we bow our heads in player. hechlly father thank you for this day you have given us. >> before this i didn't know i had so much counselor and so much strength. after june 12, i saw how strong i can be, i saw how inspiring i can be and how much i can help others. i've become a better person afterwards.
>> what began as a place for fun and joy and now sacred ground. today is a great privilege to announce the accomplishment of the one pulse foundation whose purpose will be for the construction of permanent memorial for the 49 angels. we will not let hate win we will get together and pulse will always be the heart beat of orlando o. thank you all for coming today. >> the pulse family how do you try to keep that family together? >> we saw the monthly event and different dining here locally to kbef them a home while they don't have one. they don't want their home taken away from them they want it back. >> stop allowing -- it's time to defeat hate, we will not be
defeated. still alive, one, two, three. [ applause ] >> the official shot. >> it's one of the biggest lgbt things that there is. they do so much for the community. >> you look beautiful. >> thank you. >> i'm representing all of the 49 who died. >> just about one year ago, on june 12th we woke up to awful news. tonight we're honored to be joined by christine lon know win, a mom pushing for lgbt
community for her son who died. let's recognize those we lost and promise them that we will fight together, we will not stop that they're lives were not taken in vain. let's cloud, stomp holler so loud our voices go beyond hollywood, beyond this room and beyond all parts of the america and around the world. ♪ >> i want the legacy of pulse to
be -- this tragedy is not going to break us down, in fact it made us even stronger. ♪ >> we're in this hole together and together we're going to get out of this hole. ♪ >> orlando responded that gave me hope. if we don't have hope at this point and type to change then we have truly failed. ♪ >> i think the legacy amongst all the hate that was surrounded with spread love to everyone and anyone. and don't look at people as if we bleed differentment i don't bleed the gay flag i bleed red just like you do.
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