Funerals held for Orlando shooting victims

  • 19/06/2016
Funerals held for Orlando shooting victims

Funerals for two of the 49 victims killed in the shooting at a Florida gay nightclub were marked by tense scenes, as an impatient driver was accused of injuring two law enforcement officers.

Two Osceola County Sheriff's deputies on motorcycles were injured at the funeral procession for Jean Carlos Mendez in Kissimmee, Florida, on Saturday (local time), when a driver cut through the cortege and struck them with her car, according to a statement on the sheriff's Facebook page.

The deputies were taken to the hospital, where both were in stable condition, said the sheriff's spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain.

At the funeral of another victim, Christopher Leinonen, at a church close to the centre of Orlando, a handful of protesters from the Kansas-based anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church stood silently for about 45 minutes. They were blocked from view of those attending the funeral by about 200 counter-protesters, some holding rainbow screens, who cheered when the Westboro members left.

Authorities are still investigating what motivated Omar Mateen to kill 49 people at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in the early hours of last Sunday, perpetrating the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Mateen was later killed in a shoot-out with police.

The shooting has sparked a new push for gun control legislation and Congress is expected to vote on proposals starting next week, including one on stopping people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns.

Democrats, including President Barack Obama, are framing gun restrictions as a national security issue after Mateen professed loyalty to Islamist militants. But authorities believe he was "self-radicalised" and acted without any direction from outside networks.

Reuters / CBS News