ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Under the dome at Tropicana Field, love and support for the Pulse Nightclub victims, their families, and survivors was palpable. Nearly 13,000 fans showed up to support the LGBT community in the Rays annual Pride Night.
“To be able to come together as a community and just to show the love and respect for all of us it’s very amazing,” said Amada Grau of Tampa.
Like everyone impacted by the attack, Grau has a harrowing story. She was shot three times and holed up in the bathroom with the shooter before Orlando Police saved her. After months of physical therapy, learning how to walk again, she threw out the first pitch Friday night.
“It's very special to me because I lost my good friend Chris Sanfeliz. So to be able to physically throw out the first pitch and to be able to walk again. To be here in his honor it's very heartwarming and feels just very good inside to be able to do that for him,” said Grau.
The Rays honored several other survivors and family members of Pulse victims with an on-field tribute. The Tampa Bay gay men’s chorus Una Voice sang the National Anthem, and community members unfurled both the American and Gay Pride Flags in the outfield.
“It’s just really cool. I love this. It’s awesome,” said Jeremiah Reightler.
Fans wore We Are Orlando shirts, and there was a moment of silence before the game, to remember.
“Those poor souls last year were doing nothing to anybody and going in there and kill them for what. They have a right to live as much as you and I do,” said Elaine Charpin. In support of the anniversary, there will be a blood drive at Tropicana Field from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday June 10. A memorial will also be held Saturday at 5 pm in Ybor City’s Centennial Park.