Orlando shooting victims remembered at vigils around the world

Ryan Gibson, left, embraces Tabor Winstead during a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the Legends Club on Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh, N.C. The event was held by the LGBT community in Raleigh, after 50 people were killed in an Orlando nightclub. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

"More Love. Less Hate."

That was the heartfelt message on the screen during a prayer vigil at Joy Metropolitan Community Church in Orlando, Florida, hours after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The gunman, Omar Mateen, killed 50 club-goers and critically injured dozens more at Pulse, a gay nightclub south of the city's downtown early Sunday.

From North Carolina to New York, from Connecticut to Texas, Americans held vigils for the victims.

At a vigil outside The White House The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington delivered a powerful surprise performance signing "We shall overcome."

"Love conquers hate," read a sign held by one vigil attendee.

"It could of been one of could have been one of you," one man told the crowd as he stood in front of a display of flowers and candles.

In Palm Beach County, there was heightened security at the vigils being held Sunday evening.

Many in the LGBT community talked about how gay clubs and bars are supposed to be a place for them to feel safe and to celebrate their lives.

The Reverend Dr. Lea Brown delivered a sermon at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches. This congregation, predominantly gay, has a sister church in the Orlando area.

"Some friends of theirs in the congregation texted me this morning to let me know that they were OK," Brown said. "That they had been on their way to the pulse club last night to dance and at the last minute they changed their mind."

"And in our tradition our Scripture says God is love and if everyone could just get that into their thick skulls that that's all we need to know."

In Chicago, members of LGBT groups and their supporters met in the Boystown neighborhood. Among them was Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the city has stepped up security in gay communities. Also there in solidarity were mothers who have lost their children to gun violence.

There was a litany of prayers had heads bowed Sunday night in Austin. More than 300 stood shoulder to shoulder finding comfort in the outlet for their sorrow.

"I woke up this morning not knowing how many of my friends are dead in that nightclub right now," said Isabella King, one of the organizers of the vigil.

King moved to Austin from Florida six months ago. The transgender minister organized the vigil to give Austin's LGBT community a chance to put grief into words.

"We have to be better than the hate. We have to be better than the anger," said King.

Austin's Mayor echoed those words.

"We are not all the same and it is too easy to find fear in our differences and in today's world it is happening too often," said Mayor Steve Adler.

From the Capitol in Austin, a growing crowd walked quietly down to a second vigil, a second chance to offer comfort and give each other hope. Tamon Howze is thankful that a day that started with hate and violence is ending with love and compassion.

"Today is much different," said Howze, who participated in both Austin vigils. "All these people coming together to show that the lives that were lost last night do matter. We've come a long way."

Several hundred people filled the parking lot of a popular LGBT-district bistro in downtown Atlanta, singing, lighting candles and speaking out against the violence that struck Orlando. Matt Garrett helped organize the event, handing out candles and lining up a series of speakers who would address the swelling crowd that spilled into the busy street.

Hundreds are expected to gather for a candle light vigil in Salt Lake City, Utah Monday evening.

The LGBT-rights group Equality Utah is organizing the event, which will be held on the steps of the Salt Lake City and County Building.

More than 800 people have already signed up to go through Facebook.

Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered flags fly at half-staff through Thursday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has a fraught relationship with the LGBT community, called the shooting shocking.

In a statement, church officials said they are praying for the victims, their families as well as community leaders and law enforcement.

Additional vigils are expected in Seattle, where the city's Alki statue stands draped in sympathy notes.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Washington Governor Jay Inslee gathered with people in Seattle at Cal Anderson Park, offering solidarity wit those who lost their lives.

A giant rainbow flag covered parts of the crowd and moment of levity arose as children played with police officers beneath it.

Overseas, world leaders offered their thoughts and prayer, as landmarks throughout the world bore rainbow colors in a showing of unity.

As tributes from around the world poured in, the city of Orlando continued to identify those who had lost their lives in Sunday's attack.

These are the victims that have been identified thus far:

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

This list will be updated as the city of Orlando gets in contact with the families of the victims and provides additional information.


close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off