Is There An Ongoing Threat After The Orlando Pulse Massacre? Pride Parades Around The Country Are On High-Alert
Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. After opening fire on the crowd, an individual named Omar Mateen had taken hostages and was ultimately killed in a stand-off with police; Mateen had called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the massacre. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency, and the massacre is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The victims' names were released by the city of Orlando on its website as their next of kin were informed. Here are some ways to help the Orlando shooting victims and their loved ones; you can also donate to the victims' fund, as well as express your solidarity with the LGBTQ community by posting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: After the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub which claimed 50 lives, members of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide are in a state of shock. The deadliest mass shooting event in American history has left many wondering if there is an ongoing threat after the Orlando Pulse massacre.
Los Angeles Pride 2016 went off without a hitch, but organizers and the city said that there were calls to cancel the parade — especially after Santa Monica police arrested a man who was carrying weapons and heading to LA Pride on Sunday. The man was also reportedly found with a cache of materials law enforcement suspected could be used in pipe-bomb making experiments. However, officials, organizers, and marchers have largely continued on as planned, although a somber tone prevailed with some.
Chicago Pride organizers released a statement standing in solidarity with the victims and families affected by the Orlando massacre. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson will be representing the department at a candlelight vigil on the north side of the city on Sunday, June 12. Security will presumably be tightened for Chicago's PrideFest, slated for June 18-19, and the 47th Annual Pride Parade on June 26. Organizers at PrideFest Milwaukee have said that they will be requiring that attendees pass a full-metal detector screening before entering the venue.
At the Capital Pride Fest in Washington, D.C., held earlier today, a moment of silence was observed for the dead and wounded. "It's a sad day for all of us and a powerful reminder that there's still a lot of hatred in the world. Much work remains all around the world. And much work remains right here in the District of Columbia," David Mariner, executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, told The Washington Post. Mayor Bowser's office said that increased security was present, The Washington Post reported.
While the exact motivation of the shooter has not been confirmed by the authorities, his father has come under scrutiny for posting videos to social media pages where he apparently claims to be acting as a representative of a kind of government-in-exile for Afghanistan. According to The Washington Post, in one of the videos, posted just 18 hours before the massacre, the shooter's father apparently calls for the arrest of various Afghan government officials.
Since this was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, there will assuredly be heightened security at the remaining Pride festivals and events taking place throughout the month of June.