Early Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire on the crowd in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. According to Mayor Buddy Dyer, at least 50 are dead and more than 50 are wounded in the deadliest shooting ever to take place on U.S. soil. For families of the victims, information remains sparse. Christine Leinonen, whose son Christopher was at Pulse on Saturday night, is still waiting on answers as authorities seek to identify the casualties.
Just after 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, Leinonen spoke with RTE News and made a tearful plea for information on her son's whereabouts, explaining that she hasn't been able to get ahold of him after multiple texts and calls. She later told ABC News that she woke up at 3 a.m. and by chance, checked her Facebook page. She learned about the shooting from a post by one of Christopher's friends and immediately went to the hospital.
"They said there's a lot of dead bodies in the club and that it's a crime scene ... so it could be hours and hours before we find out," she told ABC. "The hospital said there are some bodies at the hospital that came in and they died and they're not identifiable yet either."
According to Leinonen, Christopher's boyfriend has been identified as one of the wounded by the 29-year-old suspected gunman Omar Mateen. Christopher's friend, Brandon, saw an ambulance take away the boyfriend but didn't see Leinonen's son. While she waited for updates, she told ABC that she was proud of her son and his active involvement in the LGBT community, and she made an emotional appeal for unity.
"Please let's all just get along," Leinonen said. "We're on this earth for such a short time let's try to get rid of the hatred and the violence please."