FLORIDA SHOOTING UPDATE: Gay community mourns nightclub shooting victims

FLORIDA SHOOTING UPDATE: Gay community mourns nightclub shooting victims

Members of the LGBT community gathered on Sunday (June 12) to reflect on the massacre at a gay nightclub earlier that morning that left 50 people dead, as police continued to work through the night.

Nelson Rodriguez, 25, of New York, said he and his friends had made a last minute decision not to go to Pulse nightclub on Saturday night (June 11).

“Something last minute told us, ‘we need to take a nap, we’re tired, we’re going to stay local,'” he said. “My mom would have gotten the phone call that I’m dead. That’s every parents worst nightmare.”

His friend Jalin Bruce added, “A part of me feels very fortunate that we did make that decision not to come and another part is extremely saddened by what occurred here.”

Many members of the LGBT community were also gathered at Parliament House, a popular gay nightclub, which was guarded by police.

“This is our time to start to heal and to rebuild,” said Tim Evanidki, the club’s entertainment manager. “If there is a silver lining to something like this — that’s it — we are going to come back stronger than we’ve ever been.”

Early on Sunday, Omar Mateen stormed a packed gay nightclub in Orlando with a handgun and AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, fatally shooting 50 people before police killed him. Fifty-three others were wounded, many critically.

President Barack Obama described the worst mass shooting in U.S. history as “an act of terror” and “an act of hate”.

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