JetBlue is offering free flights to the families of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The deadliest shooting in U.S. history left 49 dead and at least 53 injured.
The airline announced the offer on its blog on Monday, June 13, writing, “JetBlue is providing free seats on its available flights to/from Orlando for immediate family and domestic partners of victims who were killed or injured. Those family members and domestic partners requiring travel assistance can contact 1-800-JETBLUE for details.”
The company is also waiving change fees for passengers traveling to and from Orlando in light of the tragedy. Those flying through Orlando can change their reservation without paying the typical $60 or more fee, through Saturday, June 18. JetBlue is also making a charitable contribution to those affected by the mass shooting.
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) June 13, 2016
“This weekend’s events are felt by all of our 19,000 crew members, many of whom live in, work from and travel through Orlando — one of our focus cities — at Orlando International Airport, our Orlando Support Center and JetBlue University,” the airline wrote on its blog. “We want to do our part to help the victims of this tragedy, as well as support the Orlando community through this difficult time.”
As Us Weekly previously reported, the fatal shooting occurred in the early hours of Sunday, June 12, when gunman Omar Mateen stormed into popular gay nightclub Pulse and opened fire on the crowd. Mateen, 29, reportedly called 911 to pledge his allegiance to ISIS and praise the Boston Marathon bombers before the attack. Police shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff, during which dozens of people were held hostage inside the club.
At least four regular patrons of the club later said that the gunman had visited Pulse on several occasions before the massacre. “Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” one man told the Orlando Sentinel. He also claimed that he had seen Mateen at least a dozen times.
Several reports allege that Mateen may have been gay himself. One of the gunman’s former classmates told the Palm Beach Post that they went to gay bars together in college and that Mateen once asked him out “romantically,” but he declined. And on Monday, June 13, his ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, who was married to Mateen in 2009 for four months, told Brazilian TV station SBT Brazil that he had “homosexual tendencies.”
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