POLITICS

Mother Of Man Killed In Orlando Shooting Pleads For Gun Control

"This is a club that nobody wants to be in," said Christine Leinonen.

The mother of a young man who was inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando during Sunday's mass shooting had a powerful and devastating plea for more gun control.

"This is a club that nobody wants to be in," Christine Leinonen said in an interview with ABC. She had been waiting for news of her son, Christopher, since early that morning, she said. On Monday, the city of Orlando informed her that he was among those killed.

"Please, could we do something with the assault weapons so that we could stop this club from ever getting any new members," she said. "I beg all of you, please."

Leinonen woke up at 3 a.m. on Sunday to find a Facebook post from her son's friend Brandon saying there had been a shooting and he couldn't find his friends. Brandon was in the bathroom when he heard gunshots and ran for the door. He saw Christopher's boyfriend being taken away in an ambulance with multiple gunshot wounds -- but saw no sign of Christopher.

Leinonen left her son a message the night before. "I left him with 'I love you, Chris,'" she told ABC on Sunday, holding back sobs. "[The police] said there's a lot of dead bodies at the club, that it's a crime scene. They can't identify anybody." 

Christopher, who started the Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school, was recognized with an award for his work within the LGBT community. 

"I've been so proud of him for that thing. Please, let's all just get along. We're on this earth for such a short time. Let's try to get rid of the hatred and the violence please," his mother said. 

A gunman identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen stormed the LGBT nightclub at 2 a.m. on Sunday, killing 49 people and injuring 53. Officials are investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism. 

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Sunday, offering condolences to the victims and families and another round of harsh words for those opposed to gun control. 

"We have to decide if this is the kind of country we want to be. To actively do nothing is a decision as well," he said.

The city of Orlando has set up resources on how to find missing loved ones: 

This story was updated with confirmation of Christopher Leinonen's death.

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