Florida

Attorney general to visit Orlando as community mourns with tattoos

Club goers embrace at the approximate time one week ago that the Pulse nightclub mass shooting began as the music is turned off on the dance floor to observe a moment of silence at Parliament House, an LGBT nightclub early Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
Club goers embrace at the approximate time one week ago that the Pulse nightclub mass shooting began as the music is turned off on the dance floor to observe a moment of silence at Parliament House, an LGBT nightclub early Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. David Goldman

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will visit Orlando Tuesday to meet with survivors, first responders and other Orlando community members in the aftermath of the the Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 dead and 53 injured a week ago.

She will be accompanied by U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.

Lynch, in a series of appearances across Sunday morning political talk shows, said the Department of Justice will release portions of the shooter’s calls to 911 during the shooting. The gunman’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State will not be included in the release.

OFFICERS INJURED

Two Osceola County police officers were taken to an Orlando area hospital after a car struck their motorcycles during a funeral procession for the one of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting Saturday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes said that one officer was in serious but stable condition while another was in stable condition.

The two officers, who have not been identified, were escorting the funeral procession as it moved toward the grave site for the victim, whose identity is also unknown. At about 11:30 a.m., 44-year-old Ivonne Robles Morales of Kissimmee pulled out of a side street into the procession as the officers moved to block off an upcoming intersection. She told troopers she thought someone waved her out to cross the procession.

She was ticketed for failing to yield for a funeral procession.

REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS

The city of Orlando is hosting a vigil for the victims of the Pulse shooting at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando Sunday evening, the Orlando Sentinel reported. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend.

A memorial will first be held at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke at 6 p.m. before a procession will lead to the park for the vigil at 7 p.m.

Local trains and transportation services have made special accommodations to help people get to the vigil. Organizers are asking for participants to bring flowers, candles and messages of peace.

Saturday night, hundreds of Walt Disney World guests gathered around the Partners statue at Magic Kingdom to pay their respects, the Orlando Sentinel reported. It was an unofficial gathering at about 11:45 p.m. as guests held glow sticks, smart phones and artificial candles during a moment of silence. At about midnight, guests started weaving their glow sticks into a rainbow heart, which was left at the base of Cinderella Castle.

Jerald Arthur Wright, one of the 49 victims, was a Disney cast member who worked at the Emporium Shop at Magic Kingdom. Brandy Johnson, one of his coworkers, told the Sentinel he was a sweet person.

"He was a really nice guy and would always go out of his way to help his co-workers and guests," Johnson said.

Lissette Davila is tattooed in support of Pulse nightclub mass shooting victims in Orlando. Tattoo artists from Stigma Tattoo Bar donated their time to draw various designs and all the proceeds will be donated to victims.

Earlier in the day, hundreds waited in line Saturday in Orlando for tattoos in memory of the victims of the Pulse shooting, Florida Today reported.

Stigma Tattoo and Bar offered a $50 tattoo deal that would donate the proceeds to help victims’ families, and hundreds waited for hours in a line that wrapped around the business’s building.

"We expected big but we didn't expect this big at all," said Christa Larsen, volunteer with the business, told the publication. "We've got about seven artists in there working on people. They had to call in some extra artists so we're just working on it as diligently and as fast as we can."

Tattoo artist Caroline Philpot has started a similar initiative in Gainesville, the Independent Florida Alligator reported. The tattoo artist, who works at Sacred Skins Studios, is offering a rainbow heart design with the phrase “LOVE CONQUERS HATE” for $50. Half the proceeds will be donated to the Equality Florida GoFundMe, which has raised more than $5.5 million to support the victims’ families and survivors.

“The more I thought about it, I started thinking about that Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers and I started thinking, ‘How could I help?’” she told the newspaper. She hopes to raise $1,000.

SUPPORTING THE SURVIVORS

Hard Rock Live Orlando announced Saturday that alternative band Imagine Dragons and Nate Ruess, lead singer of indie band fun, will headline the All Is One Orlando Unity concert at the Universal Studios venue Wednesday. All of the ticket sales will be donated to the OneOrlando Fund, which is providing support for victims, survivors, families and others affected by the Pulse Orlando shooting.

Tickets to the concert are $150, and can be purchased online or by calling 407-351-5483.

For the artists looking to support the survivors of the shooting, the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a quilt drive for victims of the shooting. The guild is collecting blocks of fabric with rainbow-colored hearts to make into quilts for families of victims, survivors, first responders and those directly affected by the shooting.

“Any survivors need to know they are loved,” wrote Alissa Lapinsky, the guild president, on the guild website. “And how better to accomplish that than by literally covering them in a quilt covered in hearts, and made with love?!”

The guild is also accepting fully completed quilts and other designs besides the one shown on the guild website. Lapinsky wrote that patterns should include hearts and bright colors to represent the LGBTQ flag and the different people affected by the shooting.

“I also want them to be cheerful, and want the recipients to know that these are created with love, given with love, and in using them, they will be covered with love,” she wrote.

Blocks of fabric are due to the guild by Aug. 15 and completed quilts are due by September 18. More information can be found on the guild website.

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