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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mother of Pulse nightclub shooting victim brings raw emotion to Democratic convention

Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, who was killed in the nightclub attack in Orlando, is joined on stage by Brandon Wolf, survivor of the nightclub attack in Orlando, and Jose Arraigada, survivor of the nightclub attack in Orlando, as she speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Associated Press

Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, who was killed in the nightclub attack in Orlando, is joined on stage by Brandon Wolf, survivor of the nightclub attack in Orlando, and Jose Arraigada, survivor of the nightclub attack in Orlando, as she speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

27

July

PHILADELPHIA -- Perhaps the most raw moment of the Democratic National Convention came Wednesday night when a woman from Polk City, Florida, stepped up to the lectern.

"It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times," Christine Leinonen said as she began to weep. "I know this because last month, my son, Christopher, and his boyfriend, Juan, and 47 others were murdered at a club in Orlando."

Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center fell to silence. On the convention floor, a Florida delegate waved a rainbow flag.

Her only child, who was known as Drew, liked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Leinonen said. That's why she came to to convention: to speak on his behalf and advocate for Clinton and her support for gun control.

"The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute," Leinonen said.

Even before Leinonen finished speaking, thousands of delegates rose to give her a standing ovation.

She concluded with a hug from two Pulse survivors -- Brandon Wolf and Jose Arraigada -- who then walked her off stage.

They wrapped their arms around each other.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 8:25pm]

    

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