Injuries and protest mar funerals of Orlando victims

Funerals for two of the 49 victims killed in the shooting at a Florida nightclub have been marked by tense scenes, as an impatient driver was accused of injuring two officers and one burial took place under the watch of anti-gay protesters.

Two Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles were injured at the funeral procession for Jean Carlos Mendez in Kissimmee, Florida, some 32km south of Orlando, when a driver cut through the cortege and struck them with her car.

The deputies were taken to the hospital, where both were in a stable condition, said the sheriff’s office.

At the funeral of another victim, Christopher Leinonen, at a church close to the centre of Orlando, a handful of protesters from the Kansas-based anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church stood silently for about 45 minutes. 

They were blocked from view of those attending the funeral by about 200 counter-protesters, who cheered when the Westboro members left.

Authorities are still investigating what motivated Omar Mateen to kill 49 people at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in the early hours of last Sunday, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Mateen was later killed in a shoot-out with police.

The shooting has sparked a new push for gun control legislation. 

The US Supreme Court may weigh in this week on gun control, an issue smouldering again following the Orlando massacre, with justices due to decide whether to hear a challenge by gun rights advocates to assault weapon bans in two states.

The Connecticut and New York laws prohibit semi-automatic weapons like the one used by the gunman who killed 49 people in Orlando.

The Supreme Court will announce shortly whether it will hear the challenge brought by gun rights groups and firearms owners

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