xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">

In the middle of the horror that unfolded Sunday in Orlando where dozens of people were gunned down by a deranged and hate-filled gunman, a Florida mother gave an interview as she searched for her son.

Christine Leinonen said she had talked to Christopher Leinonen the night before and ended the conversation by telling him she loved him. It was the last conversation they would ever have.

In the interview with ABC News, Leinonen sobbed as she recalled seeing an entry on Facebook about the tragedy that had been posted by one of Christopher's friends. She immediately began to call and text him to no avail.

A mother's grief

She recalled how someone told her that he saw Christopher's boyfriend being taken from the club to an ambulance. He has suffered several gunshot wounds, she said.

But it had already been several hours when she talked to the media on Sunday as she waited outside Orlando Regional Medical Center and still there had been no word as to Christopher's fate.

As she spoke to George Stephanopoulos she described how her son had started a gay-straight alliance at school and how he won an humanitarian award. She said she had been so very proud of him.

Stephanopoulos ended his questions and was about to sign off but Leinonen continued saying that she felt like she was now in a club that no one ever wants to be in.

"Please could we do something with the assault weapons so that we could stop this club from ever getting any new members. I beg all of you please. Please let's just all just get along. We are on this earth for such a short time. Let's try to get rid of the hatred and the violence, please.”

On Monday, the anguished mother was still waiting for word and “holding out a sliver of hope. “ And then it came, the horrible, crushing news that her 32-year-old son was dead, one of the 49 victims in the worst mass shooting in United States history.

According to Time Magazine, Leinonen and his boyfriend, who was also killed in the attack, were going to get married. Now, their families are planning a joint funeral.

Advertisement
Advertisement