When the news broke about the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I raced down there and I'd covered crime, I'd covered some disasters before but I've never covered anything like this. What was immediately clear was that the hospital was overwhelmed. They've had 49 deaths, about 50 more people injured and they just couldn't deal with the number of victims in their families that were coming.
And so the police had set up an off site, where they were trying to get information from people who have missing loved ones and give out information as quickly as they could. And when I got there on the Sunday night, everywhere around you, it was just signs of grief.
And these were families, these were people who are missing loved ones in many cases, coming to the police with nothing more than a cellphone which contained a last text message. It could be, come help me, I've been shot, I'm bleeding and dying. The grief there was really quite overwhelming, and I was not prepared for it.
The targets were by large, gay men, gay men from the Hispanic Community. Men, that in many cases, didn't have such close relations with their biological families. And what that meant was, when they were injured or killed, the hospitals would only give out information to what is legally defined as the next of kin.
This meant that, in many cases, a boyfriend, a partner, someone that they lived with, could show up at the hospital desperate to know if the person they loved was alive or dead. And the hospital would simply tell them, we can't tell you, you're not their family. The Pulse nightclub shooting will go down in 2016 as the worst episode of mass gun violence in modern American history.
But it also brought together a number of different debates that are happening politically. The question over access to fire arms, the targeting of gay men, and finally, the question of self-radicalization here in the United States. What exactly motivated the killer to go on a shooting spree?