Minnesotans are showing their support for those affected by the tragic mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla. nightclub that left 50 dead including the gunman and more than 50 injured – many critically.
According to authorities, the early Sunday morning (June 12) shooting inside of Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, was carried out by Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American who claimed allegiance to the terrorist group, Isis. Subsequent reports suggest Mateen was a patron of the club multiple times prior and also had profiles on social sites catering to gay men. Mateen was killed following a three-hour standoff with police. The attack is one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. History.
Here in Minnesota, the support for those affected by the tragedy came swiftly. A Sunday evening vigil the night of the shooting was attended by hundreds at Loring Park and government officials quickly weighed in, with one calling for tougher gun laws.
“No religion justifies such a senseless act of terror,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House. “All decent people must condemn this hateful act that claimed the lives of 50 people and injured 53 more. Sadly, Orlando has now joined Aurora (Col.), Charleston (S.C.), Newtown (Conn.), Oak Creek (Wisc.), and many other communities rocked by gun violence. This is yet another reminder that Congress must pass meaningful, common-sense gun reforms that include a ban on assault weapons, which have no place in civilian hands. Members of Congress must stand up to the NRA.”
Ellison, who has been an advocate for LGBT rights, sent condolences to the LGBT community.
“I am grieving with the LGBT community,” said Ellison in a statement. “This tragedy will not suppress the love and compassion that the LGBT community is centered on. Going forward, we must continue to stand against all hate crimes. No one deserves to be harmed because of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Gov. Mark Dayton ordered flags in Minnesota be flown at half-staff following the tragedy. He said that order also came from President Obama and remained in place until sunset Thursday (June 16). Dayton said the attack was not just an attack on the LGBT community, but an attack on us all.
“The horrific act of hatred and terror in Orlando was an unfathomable attack upon all of humanity. Our hearts go out to the innocent victims of that heinous assault,” said Dayton in a statement.
Outside of the Gay 90s, Minnesota’s most popular gay nightclub, 50 flowers were placed to honor the victims of the Pulse shooting. The Gay 90s released a statement calling on people to remain resilient in the face of hatred.
“Now is not the time for fear. It’s a time to stand together,” read the statement. “This is gay pride month, our month to be proud of who we are. We will not let hatred rear its ugly head and push us back. The Gay 90s owners, staff and management are deeply saddened by this event. So please stand strong and show no fear. Only vigilance.”