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Suspect arrested in fire set at Pulse nightclub shooting memorial

(Associated Press photo/John Raoux)

Orlando authorities have charged a suspect with setting fire last month to a memorial for the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.

A 64-year-old man was charged with felony criminal mischief for allegedly starting the fire in October, the Orlando Fire Department said, according to CNN

The onePulse Foundation released security footage of the incident in a Facebook post Saturday, which appears to show the suspect setting fire to one of the walls of the memorial. The post says “three Angel banners were burned,” in addition to some other items within the memorial. 

Two of the burned banners were placed there by family members and the third depicted all of the victims, sometimes referred to as the 49 angels, onePulse spokesman Scott E. Bowman told CNN. Bowman said the organization is working to replace the banners. 

Bowman told the media outlet that there are guards at the memorial on a rotating basis as well as 24-hour video surveillance.

Pulse shooting survivor Brandon Wolf told local Orlando outlet WFTV that he often visits the memorial to feel closer to the friends he lost.

“This is a space where, late at night when no one else is here, I come when I want to feel close to them again,” Wolf said. “And the idea that someone could desecrate a space like that, do something so violent, and so hateful, it’s really heartbreaking to me.” 

Wolf added that he hopes the incident is investigated as a hate crime. 

President Biden signed a bill in June to designate the Pulse nightclub as the National Pulse Memorial to honor the victims of the 2016 shooting. 

Tags Hate crime Joe Biden Mass shooting national memorial Pulse nightclub shooting

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