Orlando Shooting Victim Gets Custom Pop Vinyl Doll In His Image
An Orlando shooting victim now has his own toy figurine. Luis Vielma, a 22-year-old who worked at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park was one of 49 people killed when a gunman attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month. Now, the Orlando shooting victim has a custom Pop Vinyl doll in his image.
The vinyl figurine shows Vielma in a Gryffindor uniform holding a wand. Vielma, a 22-year-old emergency medical services student at Seminole State College operated the “Forbidden Journey” ride at the park.
Brandon Anderson, of Colorado Springs did not know Vielma personally, but decided to make the toy after reading a post suggesting someone should create a figurine in his image. The makers of the figurine, Pop!, sell blank toys that can be customized to fit any image. While the Vielma's figurines won't be sold, Anderson hopes his tribute will reach Vielma's family.
Hundreds attended Vielma's funeral and his friends held up a 100-foot long rainbow flag to protect the mourners from homophobic protesters. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling sent Vielma's family a wreath of carnations and a note, that read “To Luis, who died for love. You will never be forgotten. J.K. Rowling.”
Rowling also paid an emotional tribute to him on Twitter, writing "I can't stop crying."
"It was a beautiful gesture to see J.K. tweet about him," Vielma's friend Alma Almaraz Retana told BuzzFeed, "When I walked in to church and saw the beautiful flowers that she has sent I knew he was in heaven dancing of happiness."
It is appropriate that Vielma will be remembered in his Gryffindor outfit. His family said working at the Wizarding World was a dream come true for him. “He loved being able to go and be part of that every day he worked,” his family wrote in his obituary. “There was no greater experience for him at this time.”
The Forbidden Journey ride was closed on Sunday, to pay respect to Vielma, according to Newsweek.
"He was always a friend you could call," said Josh Boesch, who worked with Vielma at Universal. "He was always open and available."
Thanks to the figurine, Vielma will be remembered as the wizard who brought hundreds of kids joy.