The Harry Potter universe now includes real-life terrorism, with J.K. Rowling on Sunday mourning a victim of the Orlando shooting who worked at Universal Studios Orlando’s Wizarding World.
“Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can’t stop crying. #Orlando,” the “Harry Potter” author tweeted late Sunday. She then retweeted comments from people who said they’d known Vielma and offered prayers to another victim who was said to be in intensive care.
“I worked with Luis he was a gryffindor who would make you proud,” said a Twitter user going by the name Victoria Bidorini who responded to Rowling’s memorial tweet, identifying her co-worker by a well-known school classification from the Potter books. “We have a slytherin who’s still in the icu. His name is Tony.”
Authorities said Vielma was among more than 100 people who were either killed or injured in the wee hours Sunday in an attack by Omar Mateen at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. During the attack, Mateen called 911 and pledged loyalty to Islamic State; he was later killed in a shootout with SWAT officers.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Vielma had posted on social media about going to Pulse, where it was Latino night.
“He was always a friend you could call,” Josh Boesch, who worked with Vielma at Universal, told the newspaper. “He was always open and available.” Vielma was planning to become an emergency medical technician, Boesch said.
Rowling has long been public in her support for gay rights. “#LoveIsLove” she tweeted Monday morning.
Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ