Hundreds show love at funeral mass for Pulse shooting victim Luis Vielma


  • Photo courtesy of Olga Glomba
Hundreds of families and friends arrived at All Souls Catholic Church in Sanford on Friday to pay their final respects to Luis Vielma, one of the 49 victims in the mass shooting last week at the gay nightclub Pulse. 

Vielma, 22, was a student at Seminole State College who worked at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter operating the “Forbidden Journey” ride. The people who loved Vielma told the Orlando Sentinel he was a kind person and a true friend. 

BuzzFeed News reports J.K. Rowling, who paid tribute to Vielma, who was Mexican-American, on her Twitter, also sent red flowers to his funeral mass. 

Outside the funeral mass, Marco Vega and his friends held a more than 100-foot-long rainbow flag to protect Vielma's friends and families from anti-LGBTQ protesters who might come even though Vielma was reportedly straight. 
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

Vega, who is gay and was born in Puerto Rico, says he didn't know Vielma, but his friends did and he was here to support them. His friend, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, was at the club when the shooter opened fire, and unfortunately did not make it. 

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
  • Marco Vega, above
"At first it was scary hearing about everything that was going on," he says. "But as time goes on, you see the support of the communities putting out for everybody. It's a lot easier. Everybody is looking for their own way to help."

Vega and his friends cut different-colored cloths and pieced them together into a rainbow flag with the help of Vega's ex-employer Strong Enterprises, a company that manufactures parachutes and other equipment. 

"There are people that like to make things harder for everybody when it doesn't need to be," he says. "I just wish more people would care and show some love."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.