Philly and the Nation React in Horror to Orlando Shootings
A mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando left at least 50 people dead and 53 wounded this weekend in what was the worst of its kind in U.S. history.
Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, opened fire in Pulse, a popular LGBT nightclub, around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Police entered the nightclub and killed Mateen around 5 a.m., according to the Orlando Sentinel.
People are mourning the tragedy across the city and nationwide. President Barack Obama spoke Sunday, offering his condolences to the LGBT community and calling the event an act of terror and hate.
Governor Tom Wolf ordered flags to be flown at half staff until sunset on June 16th. Mayor Jim Kenney announced a vigil for the victims, to be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. on the Northeast corner of City Hall.
“Frances and I join with all Pennsylvanians in mourning the senseless deaths of at least 50 people in Orlando,” Wolf said in a statement. “This is a national tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and all Floridians.
At LGBT pride parades held in Philly and L.A. this Sunday, the presence of security and police officers were strengthened.
Of the names so far released by authorities, two of the dead and one of the injured are reported to be from Philadelphia. The names of those from Philadelphia who were killed have not yet been released.
One of the victims who was shot and is expected to recover is an intern working for Fox 29 news in Philadelphia. The names of all of the identified victims will continue to appear on the City of Orlando’s website.
Authorities are calling the shooting the nation’s worst terrorist attack since 9/11. Officials say the shooter was motivated by Islamic extremism, but a direct tie has not yet been found.
Mateen was armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle he purchased in Florida sometime in the past two weeks, according to the Sentinel. The FBI had investigated him twice for his apparent interest in terrorism.
Senator Bob Casey will meet with LGBT community leaders Monday in Pittsburgh to discuss safety concerns “across the country from commonsense gun laws to ongoing acts of hate,” according to a press release. He is also expected to introduce legislation that would ban those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning guns.
Donald Trump is (deservedly) facing harsh criticism after he called on President Obama to step down for refusing to use the words “radical Islam.”
Sunday night during the Tony awards, Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed a sonnet paying tribute to the victims.
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