Pulse owner to announce memorial details May 4

Pulse (Photo by David Taffet)

The Orlando Sentinel reports today (Tuesday, April 25) that Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, will announce a process for planning a permanent memorial at the club’s location on May 4. The club, at 1912 S. Orange Ave. in Orlando, has been closed since June 12, 2016, when a lone gunman murdered 49 people and injured more than 50 others in the worst mass shooting incident in modern U.S. history.

The Sentinel says that the process “is expected to include community input and, perhaps, a town hall meeting.”

The newspaper also notes that the city has announced plans for Orlando United day, a day of public events to commemorate the massacre, and that Poma has said the anniversary will include two events at the Pulse property — a midday ceremony with community speakers and a second gathering from 10 p.m.-midnight. A resolution has been introduced in the Florida Legislature designating June 12 as Pulse Remembrance Day in the state.

“The resolution, as sponsored by state Reps. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, and Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, specifically recognizes that gay nightclubs like Pulse ‘carry historical significance and are often recognized as safe havens for the LGBTQ+ community,’ and that the Pulse attack was a hate crime that had disproportionate impact on ‘communities of color,’” the Sentinel reports.

The memorial is a project of OnePULSE Foundation, which Poma established and of which she serves as executive director and CEO. The foundation as been raising money to support construction and maintenance of a memorial, provide community grants to care for the survivors and victims’ families, endow scholarships in memory of each of the 49 victims and, ultimately, create a museum featuring artifacts and stories from the shooting.

Poma said she will introduce the foundation’s board members and the memorial task force project members on May 4.

Poma has said she created Pulse nightclub 12 years ago in memory of her brother John, who died of HIV/AIDS. She told the Sentinel, “Pulse has always been a part of me, but after this tragedy which took 49 lives, it became a part of this community and the world. It’s important that we as a community be mindful and take great care to preserve, honor and help heal.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

Pulse killer’s wife arrested

Noor Salman

CNN has reported that federal authorities have arrested the widow of the man who killed 49 people and injured than 50 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June 12 before being killed himself by officers responding to the scene.

In a story posted just before 8 p.m. EST today (Monday, Jan. 16), CNN reports that Noor Salman faces federal charges including obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband’s material support to ISIS, according to a law enforcement official. The law enforcement official said that despite Salman’s claim that she was coerced by her husband’s abusive behavior, authorities believe she acted of her own free will and knowingly obstructed the investigation into what was the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in modern U.S. history.

The arrest of Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, was first reported by The New York Times.

Authorities believe Salman acted of her own free will and knowingly took steps to obstruct the investigation into the massacre, according to a law enforcement official.

The official said Salman’s claims that she was coerced through her husband’s abusive behavior did not stand up. Another official says the evidence will show that she was complicit and knew her husband was going to do something bad.

Neither Salman’s attorney nor her family in California have commented on the arrest.

Orlando police Chief John Mina said he is glad Salman was arrested and that “we are grateful that they have seen to it that some measure of justice will be served in this act of terror that has affected our community so deeply.”

—  Tammye Nash

City of Orlando buying Pulse nightclub

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In this photo from the Orlando Sentinel, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lays a bouquet of roses at the makeshift memorial to the Pulse victim, shortly after the shooting.

The city of Orlando has reached a deal to buy the Pulse nightclub and will turn the site into a permanent memorial to the 49 people killed and 53 injured when a gunman walked into the club in the early morning hours of June 12 and opened fire with a semiautomatic, assault-style rifle.

The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting committed by one person in U.S. history. The gunman was killed by police.

The city has agreed to pay $2.25 million for the club, and Mayor Buddy Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel the city won’t be rushing to change the club, which has become a gathering place for mourners — both locals and visitors.

“There are lots of people that are making a visit to the site part of their trip, part of their experience of Orlando, so I think 12 to 18 months of leaving it as-is would be appropriate,” Dyer told the newspaper.

Many of those who have visited the site since the shooting have left behind photos, notes, stuffed animals and more. The Orange County Regional History Center has collected many of the items to preserve them. A black chain-link fence had surrounded the club since right after the shooting. The city removed that fence in September, replacing it with a new barrier placed further back from the road and wrapped in a screen featuring images created by local artists.

The mayor also said city officials will be asking the community for ideas on what form the memorial should take, and that they haven’t ruled out the possibility of leaving at least some part of the site intact — for instance, the roadside sign bearing the “now-iconic” Pulse logo.

Dyer said the ultimate goal is to “create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of our community.”

The sales contract with the city was signed Friday by Rosario Poma, who owns the club with his wife, Barbara. Orlando’s City Council, which has the final say on the deal, will weigh in on it next week. Barbara Pomo opened in the bar in 2004 and named it Pulse in honor of her brother, John, who died of AIDS in 1991.

Below is video from the city of Orlando website of Mayor Buddy Dyer explaining the decision to buy the site:

—  Tammye Nash

Anti-gay pastor kicked out of Botswana for hate speech

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Homophobic asshole Steven Anderson

Last week Brent Paxton wrote this story for Dallas Voice about the government of South Africa banning LGBT-hating so-called “pastor” Steven Anderson from entering their country because of his nasty anti-LGBT “sermons” and hate speech.

Now officials with the government of Botswana have announced that they have deported Anderson from that country. Botswana President Ian Khama of Botswana on Tuesday, Sept. 20, told Reuters he had ordered that Anderson be arrested and deported.

Khama told Reuters he had ordered Anderson’s immediate arrest and deportation after the pastor said in an interview with a local radio station in the capital Gabarone on that morning that gays and lesbians should be killed.

That kinds of hatefulness is par for the course for Anderson, “pastor” at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, who applauded the June 12 massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, saying after the shooting that “there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

During the radio interview Tuesday, Anderson said that the government should kill lesbians and gays, said the victims at Pulse were “disgusting homosexuals who the Bible says were worthy of death” and called for pedophiles and adulterers to be killed and said the Bible barred women from preaching in church.

Botswana immigration officers were reportedly with Anderson when he left the radio station, but he has denied being deported, saying instead that he left voluntarily.

According to the Washington Blade, a spokesperson for the organization Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana said that group was told Anderson assaulted someone who attended his church service in Botswana on Monday, Sept. 19, claiming on the LGBB blog that Anderson called the person “a fag, a homosexual … with a mouth full of AIDS” before having the man forcibly removed.

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana had called on their government last week to follow South Africa’s lead and bar Anderson from the country, the Blade reports, and this week applauded the government’s decision to deport him, “in the process defend[ing] its citizens.”

—  Tammye Nash

Man who survived Pulse shooting found dead at party

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After surviving the shooting at the Pulse nightclub, Chris Brodman got a tattoo over his heart in memory of the 49 victims. Brodman was found dead last Sunday at a party in Tampa.

A man who made it safely out of the Pulse nightclub after the shooting started in the early morning hours of June 12 was found dead at a birthday party last weekend, according to reports by The Advocate.

Chris Brodman, 34, was at a birthday party in Tampa early Sunday morning, when someone found his body in the backyard of a residence on Garden Lake Circle. Paramedics who reported to the scene at 1:17 a.m. attempted to resuscitate Brodman, but he was declared dead shortly afterward.

Officials with the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office told the Advocate in an email that the body showed no signs of violence and that the “final conclusion of the official cause of death is pending additional forensics and toxicology examination.”

Brodman had said that he was smoking a cigarette that night at Pulse nightclub when he heard the first gunshots ring out. He thought at first it was just the beat of the music, but when he saw the bloodied bodies began falling, he took cover under a table until he was able to run to safety across the street, according to the Advocate.

Brodman said later that surviving the shooting had given him a “new lease on life,” and that he intended to go back to school, travel abroad and live his life to the fullest. He had even gotten a tattoo over his heart to commemorate the victims at Pulse.

—  Tammye Nash

Pulse hero to be honored by AMPA

 Imran Yousuf

Imran Yousuf

Imran Yousuf will be honored with the 2016 AMPA Community Hero Award at the inaugural American Military Partner Association West Coast Gala on Saturday, Sept. 17 in San Diego.

Yousuf, a recent Marine Corps veteran, is widely credited with having saved more than 70 lives during the June 12 Pulse massacre in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in modern United States history.
Yousef worked as a bouncer at the club.

“Imran represents the best of America and the best of America’s military community, as evidenced by his quick and heroic actions amid the chaos and carnage of the tragedy in Orlando,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “While he humbly may not consider himself a hero, his courageous actions in the face of mortal danger that saved the lives of more than 70 of our LGBT brothers and sisters say otherwise. He is certainly a hero to our community and to all of America, and we are proud to honor Imran with our 2016 Community Hero Award at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala in San Diego.”

Since the shooting, Yousuf has only made one other public appearance — when he served as honorary grand marshal of the Houston Pride Parade in June.

Yousef served as an engineer equipment electrical systems technician in the Marine Corps from 2010-2016, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

—  David Taffet

S. Florida man threatens to attack to ‘exterminate’ gay men

jungwirthSouth Florida’s LGBT community — and law enforcement — are on high alert this week after a local man posted numerous threats against LGBT people on Instagram, claiming that what he is “planning for Labor Day” will be worse than the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The shooting at Pulse left 49 victims and the shooter dead, and another 53 people wounded. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Impulse South Florida, the local chapter of the national volunteer HIV/AIDS education and advocacy organization, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, posted screen captures of Craig Jungwirth’s posts on Instagram from that same day, along with a photo of Jungwirth himself (see above) and a warning to be on the look out for him.

In the posts, which appear to be part of a conversation with a man named David Herbert, Jungwirth says, “My events are selling out cause you faggots are total patsies. None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”

When Herbert replies that Jungwirth is “fucking crazy” and that he is calling police, Jungwirth continues, “You can never catch a genius from MIT and since you faggots are dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers. …

“I’m gonna be killing you fags faster than cops kill niggers. It’s time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS infested losers.”

In posting the screen caps to the Impulse South Florida Facebook page, representatives of the organization said Jungwirth has made other “extreme posts” on Instagram, and that he “has been known to be in Wilton Manors and Orlando.” Wilton Manors is located just north of Fort Lauderdale.

In a statement to Dallas Voice on Wednesday, Aug. 31, via Impulse Dallas representative Erik Vasquez, Impulse United Vice President and Impulse South Florida representative A.J. Alegria said, “All local law enforcement has been notified and are working on [Jungwirth]. Our close friend is the captain of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He has been communicating with use. We have been directing everyone to law enforcement. The FBI has also been notified.”

LGBT media in the South Florida area earlier this year — including Peacock Panache and South Florida Gay News — outed Jungwirth as a scam artist, noting that he had taken over the Beach Bear Weekend event in Florida and used it to scam money from the LGBT community. As Tim Peacock with Peacock Panache reported, “What began as a story of his harassment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence exploded after information surfaced that not only were the events listed for his Beach Bear Weekend event fake but also all hotel bookings through the event website didn’t actually reserve local hotels.”

Peacock said that after he published stories about that situation, Jungwirth “embarked on a harassment campaign” against Peacock Panache and its writers, sent harassing text messages, left “vaguely threatening voice mails,” left spam and threats on the Peacock Panache’s social media pages and comments sections and “even attempted to hack our server several times to access the articles written about him.”

NBC 6 News out of Miami reports that Jungwirth “has a lengthy criminal history which includes stalking charges,” and “a handful of restraining orders” against him. The TV station also said Facebook has deleted Jungwirth’s profile.

Dallas Voice has contacted police departments in both Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale for information and we are awaiting their responses. But NBC 6 says police departments in the area — and the LGBT community — are taking the threats seriously. You can watch NBC 6’s report below.

—  Tammye Nash

VIDEO: Drag Star Divas for Pulse

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Last month — on Sunday, July 17 — 22 of the top drag performers in North Texas and beyond gathered for a marathon drag show at The Rose Room in Station 4, that raised nearly $10,000 for the LGBT Center of Central Florida, in honor of the 49 people killed and 53 wounded in the June 12 mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub, Pulse.

Here’s video of the show, and some of the performers talking about what it meant to them to participate.

—  Tammye Nash

Clinton pays unexpected visit to Pulse, meets with victims, families

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Tweet by NPR’s Tamara Keith showing Hillary Clinton talking to first responders outside Pulse nightclub during an unannounced visit to Orlando Friday, July 22.

With the start of the Democratic National Convention just a few days away — and with just about the whole country anxiously waiting for her to announce her choice of a running mate — presumptive Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton instead chose to make an unannounced visit Friday, July 22, to Orlando where she met privately with survivors and families of victims of the June 12 mass shooting at the LGBT nightclub Pulse, according to The New Civil Rights Movement and other sources.

Clinton also held a roundtable discussion with the victims and family members and community leaders, before visiting the site of the nightclub to pay her respects and meet with first responders.

According to a tweet by NBC News reporter Alex Seitz-Wald, staff a Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn went into a meeting at 3 p.m. expecting to hear who the candidate had chosen as VP, but were told they have to wait until “an undisclosed time” to find out that info.

Jennifer King with Associated Press Radio tweeted that after meeting with victims, families and community leaders, Clinton “is saying we need to stand united against bigotry.” BuzzFeedNews political reporter Ruby Cramer tweeted that the candidate said, “It’s still dangerous to be LGBT in America…an unfortunate fact but one that needs to be said.” And Bloomberg Politics reporter Jennifer Epstein tweeted that Clinton told those in Orlando, “I really am here to listen to what your experiences have been and wha twe do need to do together.”

—  Tammye Nash

Drag Star Divas brings in big bucks for Orlando victims

Drag Stars Diva Logo

Drag Star Divas for Orlando, a show held Sunday night, July 17, at The Rose Room in S4, raised $8,500 in about two hours to benefit the victims of the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The event featured more than 30 performers, including Rose Room regulars, RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, Mr. Gay USofA winner and even Alyssa Edwards’ Beyond Belief dance team.

Below are photos taken by Dallas Voice’s Chad Mantooth, and even a brief video snippet of a performance by Kennedy Davenport. Watch for more photos in the Scene section of the Friday, July 22 issue of Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash