November 8, 2016 / 5:32 PM / 2 years ago

Orlando could make Pulse club a memorial to massacre victims

(Reuters) - The city of Orlando, Florida, may buy the Pulse nightclub where 49 people were killed in June, and officials hope to turn it into a memorial to the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials collect evidence from the parking lot of the Pulse gay night club, the site of a mass shooting days earlier, in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

Members of Orlando’s City Council are due to vote on Monday on whether to approve an agreement between the city and Pulse’s owner to purchase the dance club for $2.25 million.

“This location is now a permanent part of Orlando’s history. It’s the site of the most tragic event that has ever occurred in the city,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement.

“With the city owning the property, we can engage in a public process to determine the future of the Pulse property and building,” Dyer said.

Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old claiming allegiance to the Islamic State militant group, opened fire inside Pulse on June 12 before being killed by police after a three-hour standoff. Fifty-three people were also wounded.

If the council votes to approve the purchase, city officials will begin assessing their options before the sale closes on Dec. 30, according to Dyer’s statement.

Dyer said in a separate video posted on the city’s website on Tuesday that local officials do not know yet exactly what type of memorial will be created.

“We do know we want to maintain it as is for a period of time, 12 to 18 months, so that people from around the country and world who want to visit the site can do so,” Dyer said.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Cynthia Osterman

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