Justice Department awards Pulse victims, families $8.5 million

Pulse nightclub front view

49 people were killed and dozens injured after a lone gunman entered the crowded nightclub and opened fire.

The Florida attorney general’s office will receive an $8.5 million grant from Justice Department on Wednesday to aid victims of last year’s Pulse nightclub shooting.

The monies will be provided through the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program, operated by the Office of Victims of Crime, to reimburse victims, witnesses and first responders costs incurred as a result of the shooting.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the “funding will provide important support” to those affected by the devastating attack.

“We continue to mourn those who were taken from us that awful day, and we admire the resilience of the great city of Orlando,” Sessions said. “With this grant, we reaffirm the Justice Department’s commitment to the people of Orlando, the families of the victims and all who are helping those affected by this heinous crime.”

The June 12, 2016, mass shooting unfolded in the early morning hours at the Orlando nightclub as the shooter, Omar Mateen, 29, entered the building and opened fire. Mateen pushed his way further into the building, eventually holding those who had not yet escaped hostage.

Some held hostage had already been shot and died inside the club next to their friends, families, and loved ones. Altogether, 49 people were killed, and more than 50 others were injured, marking it as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Mateen was killed in a shootout with law enforcement. His wife, Noor Salman, 30, was arrested in January and faces federal charges for obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting by providing material support to a terror organization.

Following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the OVC was given authorization by Congress to administer up to $50 million annually after acts of mass violence.

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