Man arrested for setting Pulse Memorial ablaze, officials say


ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — A man accused of setting fire to the Pulse Memorial last month has been arrested after a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting may have helped identify the suspect.

Mark Henson, 64, is suspected of starting the fire that caused significant damage to the beloved site, according to an investigation by the Orlando Fire Department Arson and Bomb Squad. Henson is being charged with felony criminal mischief.

On Saturday, the onePulse Foundation shared on Facebook security footage that shows someone in a wheelchair at the Pulse Nightclub Memorial site around 8:30 p.m.

The video shows the person coming closer to the site, and then a fire erupts. It quickly grows and the person leaves the site going north.

A survivor of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting says he helped identify the man who allegedly set fire to the memorial in October.

Orlando Torres told WESH 2 News he visited the memorial and saw the charred banner with the faces of friends he lost, such as Anthony Luis Laureano Disla.

Scott Bowman from the onePulse Foundation said they “became aware of Orlando helping to identify the suspect today.”

“I had seen him that night before the shooting. And I kissed him and then I went into the restroom and that’s when all the shots started happening,” Torres said.

With his loved ones in mind, Torres said he looked for the man caught on the onePulse Foundation’s security cameras.

“And it just hit me hard that I had to focus in making an effort to come out and try to stop this man before he does any future more damage in the Pulse Memorial,” said Torres.

“I had already posted that I was heading out there to do a search, so I got leads from friends. And they said they’d seen him,” said Torres.

Tuesday, Torres said he found a man that matched the description of the man in the video precisely.

He didn’t confront the man; instead, Torres sent videos of who he thought was the suspect to the police.

Police later arrested a man they identified as Mark Anthony Henson.

“God bless the 49 angels and the 52 other injured, their loved ones and friends,” said Torres in one of the videos recorded Tuesday afternoon.

Torres was grateful he could try to help.

“I feel relieved. I am glad to bring the community to be relieved because there was an uproar… a lot of people were very disappointed hurt,” said Torres.

The onePulse Foundation sent us this statement:

The “onePULSE Foundation is grateful to the Orlando Fire Department’s Arson and Bomb Squad for today’s arrest. As always, we are so appreciative of all of the first responders who work to keep our community safe.”

The onePulse Foundation said it pledges to repair and restore the site as soon as possible.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss