Community leaders take to social media to remember the victims after Pulse gunman’s wife found not guilty

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Noor Salmon, the wife of the Pulse gunman, was acquitted March 30 of charges that linked her to the nightclub shooting.

Salmon was charged with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a foreign terrorism organization.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma and family members of several victims were present in the courtroom when the verdict was read, according to the Orlando Sentinel. They all left the courthouse after the verdict was read without speaking to the press.

Poma went to social media after the verdict saying that she respects the criminal justice process and that she trusted the jury made its decision free of bias and emotion.

“Those of us directly affected by this tragedy must find peace in our hearts and remember that he was the one who pulled the trigger that night. He was the perpetrator, and he should not have one more minute of power over our lives,” Poma wrote. “This verdict cannot and will not divide us. The survivors, families and first responders, as well as the community of Orlando and everyone around the world, must now focus on the work ahead of us. We will always carry the pain of what happened at Pulse, and we will never forget those who were taken. We will wrap our arms around all affected today and in the days to come. It will be difficult, but we will focus now on healing, and we will continue to work to help communities emerge from violence and hate. It is as important today as it was 21 months ago.”

A handful of supporters gathered outside of Pulse after the acquittal holding signs reading “We will not let hate win.” The group stood in silence and held the signs up as passing cars honked their support.

Both Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs also commented on the verdict via Facebook.

“Today, a Federal jury reached a verdict in a trial related to the Pulse tragedy,” Dyer wrote. “We can never bring back the 49 innocent victims whose lives were taken on June 12, 2016, or erase the pain that the horrific act brought to so many, but hopefully the conclusion of the trial can help our community continue the healing process. We remain committed to ensuring those who have been directly impacted by this tragedy, receive the support and care that is needed.”

Dyer included in his post the contact information for the Orlando United Assistance Center, adding “Our advocates and mental health providers are standing by ready to help. This is a community and a city that cares deeply for each other and we will continue to exhibit love and kindness in everything that we do and be a symbol of hope to the world.”

Jacobs took a similar stance, calling for the community to support those who are still healing from the June 12 attack.

“I know that today’s verdict comes as a sharp and painful disappointment to so many in our community, but just as we reacted in those early hours and days after the Pulse tragedy – when we resisted the temptation to respond to hate with hate – I know that today our community will respond in that same manner.”

The Dru Project’s Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor who has been a staple in the news recently talking about gun control reform, admitted in a Facebook post that he has not been paying attention to the court case.

“I have not been watching the trial. I am not personally invested in the outcome,” he wrote. “But I know this: Noor Salman does not define justice for the 49. We do. In our fight to protect other communities from feeling our pain. In our commitment to creating a better, safer world for our children. In our refusal to accept the corrupt status quo. True justice, in my eyes, will be served when we create a world our angels would be proud of. A world where we are celebrating life, not running from bullets. I love you all. Stay strong. We do it for them.”

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