Steven Sotloff’s parents speak out on Orlando shooting

MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) - As South Florida residents continued showing their support in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, a local couple who lost their son at the hands of ISIS addressed the tragedy as they strive to turn pain into purpose.

In early September of 2014, the terrorist group released video of the beheading of journalist and Miami native Steven Sotloff.

7News spoke with his parents, Art and Shirley Sotloff, at an event organized by the South Florida International Press Club, Wednesday, in Miami Shores. “It’s almost two years since Steven passed, and Steven brought this up when he died,” said Shirley Sotloff, his mother. “We are still waiting for things to get done.”

Almost two years after Steven’s death, police said, Fort Pierce resident Omar Mateen took the lives of 49 people at Pulse Nightclub. Investigators said he called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

Steven’s father said the terrorist group’s reach extends all the way to U.S. soil. “It’s just beginning. They’re here, and we have to decide what we’re going to do about it,” said Art Sotloff.

Art said the Orlando massacre is the opening act of what could turn out to be a drawn-out conflict between the U.S. and ISIS. “This is not one instance that’s happening. This is going to be an ongoing recurrence,” he said. “A lot of people are getting radicalized, and the United States is in for a very, very, very big surprise.”

At Wednesday’s event, Press Club gave the Sotloffs a $10,000 cashier’s check that will go to the Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund. The fund provides a yearly scholarship to a journalism student at the University of Miami in need of financial aid.

This is one of the ways the Sotloffs have spent their time trying to make a difference after their devastating loss.

Throughout South Florida, the pain of Sunday’s tragedy continues to resonate, from a moment of silence outside the Miami-Dade County Public Schools headquarters, to a heartfelt memorial at Miami Dade College, to the parents of a victim of terror. “[The shooting is] obviously ISIS-inspired, and I don’t know when it will end or if it will ever go away,” said Shirley, “but we need to do something.”

South Florida has been supporting those affected by the shooting at Pulse Nightclub with blood drives and donations. JM Family Enterprises Inc. is the latest local business to contribute to the OneOrlando Fund. It has donated $100,000.

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