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Wands raised in tribute for Orlando victim at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando staff and guests gathered outside of Hogwarts castle Monday to pay tribute to one of their own in a vigil straight out of “Harry Potter.”

Luis Vielma was one of the 49 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday. The 22-year-old was an attraction operator at the theme park whose responsibilities included running the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride and was described by a co-worker as “a funny, sweet, nerdy guy without a mean side.”

During the tribute, Vielma was remembered as “one of the bravest and best Gryffindors the world has ever known” and that “he was kind and he was brave and he was one of the kindest souls you will ever meet in your life.”

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The people gathered then raised their wands in remembrance for Vielma in a nod to Professor Dumbledor’s funeral, which took place at Hogwarts after he was killed in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” The professors and students raised their wands at the funeral to pay tribute to the fallen wizard.

On Sunday, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to express her sadness when she learned of the events and Vielma’s connection to the Wizarding World theme park.

Former Universal Orlando employee Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado was also among those killed during the attack. The 35-year-old father was a dancer and entertainer who performed at theme parks including Walt Disney World.

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tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown


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