ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A memorial is growing outside Pulse, now that Orange Avenue is back open. While the owner of Pulse nightclub Barbara Poma wouldn't talk about the shooting on camera, she released this statement saying,"We need to show we are strong, that Pulse continues and that we appreciate, all the help, this community has shown us."
Louis Morales placed a sign he made, outside the Pulse nightclub on Wednesday. He's thinking about five of his friends who died there. "I came out here because this is a place where I come also, unfortunately I didn't go out, but a lot of my friends did. I'm very heartbroken and stressed about it," he said.
Poma is holding a benefit for Pulse employees at Wildside BBQ in Thornton Park on Thursday. The theme of the event is "Latin Night," something they often celebrated at Pulse and the theme of the night when the massacre happened. The benefit takes place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Washington Street will be closed for the event.
Morales said, "I would like for this to stay and be a memorial site as a place for people to come and visit where the tragedy happened, as a healing process."
A spokesperson for Poma said it's too early to know what will happen to this site. Right now, law enforcement officers still have control of the building. But that's not stopping people from mourning outside. Morales said, "I came all the way from NY because this is my way of paying respect to the lives we lost. Reopen it make it bigger and better and make it a tribute to the people who lost their lives."
Elsa Maresma, Kissimmee Resident says, "I also would like it to reopen and have a bigger and better atmosphere."
As people come from all over the country to pray tribute to the victims, Louis is glad, a another benefit will be taking place. "I think that's great because we are strong, we're a strong community and we will not be defeated."
Pulse opened in 2004, in honor of Poma's brother, who died of AIDS.