NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Loved ones, friends and total strangers held a fundraiser Wednesday night for the Metairie man shot in the Orlando nightclub terrorist attack.
"It's been a long journey and we still have a long journey ahead of us," Steven Murillo said.
Leonel Melendez, 39, remains in a coma after being shot in the head early Sunday morning inside Pulse nightclub.
Dozens gathered at The Friendly Bar in the Marigny to raise money for his medical bills.
"The whole family is in Orlando and they want everybody to know that they appreciate that the outpouring support that Leonel has been receiving. They are very grateful, and our prayers go out to the victims and the families that were affected by this," Murillo said.
Organizers set up 49 candles around the bar to honor the people killed during the largest mass shooting in American history.
The group took donations, sold t-shirts and raffled off signed New Orleans Saints memorabilia with the message #Love4Leo.
"A day and a half we had no idea if he was alive or dead or where he was. He had no identification on him in the hospital. So (his family) had to go there and identify him through a panel and they had to go through several families who were unaware of where their loved one was," Melendez's longtime friend Stacie Romero said.
The Friendly Bar's owners reached out to Melendez's friends and family to put on the fundraiser without knowing anyone from the Melendez family.
A GoFundMe account in Melendez's name has raised more than $24k at this time.