Chicago LGBT Groups Plan Vigils in Wake of Orlando Shooting

Two vigils are planned for Sunday night, with a third on Monday evening

In the wake of the country's deadliest mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday, Chicago's LGBT community extended condolences, offered resources, and planned vigils to show support for the victims of the massacre. 

Two vigils are planned for Sunday evening, according to LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois. The first will be at the intersection of N Halsted St and W Roscoe St in the Lake View East neighborhood at 7 p.m.

The second will be at the intersection of W Balmoral Ave and N Clark St in the Andersonville neighborhood at 7:45 p.m. 

"We mourn the victims of the shooting in the Orlando nightclub Pulse, a popular gay venue," Equality Illinois said in a statement. "While we don’t know yet the motive of the shooter, we do know we should all feel safe in our homes, schools and places of business and entertainment. Our hearts go out to the Orlando LGBT community and the family and friends of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured."

 The Center on Halsted, an LGBTQ community center located at 3656 N Halsted St in the city's Lake View neighborhood, is hosting a community vigil Monday at 7 p.m.

“Our community is no stranger to hate and discrimination, but time and time again we have prevailed,” CEO Modesto Tico Valle said in a statement. “We have been guided by love and now again we will prove that love wins.”

A gunman opened fire early Sunday morning at Pulse Orlando, a popular gay dance club, killing 50 people and leaving 53 more wounded, police said.

The suspect was identified by several law enforcement sources as Omar Mateen, according to NBC News. The sources told NBC News Mateen was born in New York in 1986 and was listed as living in a residence in Port St. Lucie, about 125 miles south of Orlando.

Bars and Clubs in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood posted reactions Sunday to Facebook.

"Our thoughts are with those suffering from the senseless act of terror in Orlando," Sidetrack The Video Bar wrote. "We will keep everyone posted about what our community will be able to do to support those in need as details continue to unfold.

"Our prayers and thoughts go out to victims of this brutal tragedy in Florida," Hydrate Nightclub Chicago posted. "These cowards who attacked innocent victims were nothing more than just that...cowards! We stand united with our GLBT community throughout this horrible tragedy."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement called the shooting a "horrifying act of terrorism" that was "an attack on our most fundamental values as Americans."

"On behalf of the City of Chicago, Amy and I send our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of those who were lost," Emanuel said. "June is a time when all Chicagoans and all Americans proudly celebrate the contributions of our LGBT community. This horrendous violence will only deepen our resolve to continue building a society that values everyone, regardless of who they love. The thoughts and prayers of Chicago will remain with the victims of this attack as they seek comfort and courage in the days ahead."

The Chicago Police Department offered technical, manpower or resource assistance to Orlando law enforcement.

"As we learn about another reprehensible act of gun violence, CPD extends our deepest condolences to those affected by the horrible tragedy in #Orlando," CPD said in a statement on Facebook. "Our thoughts and support also go out to our partners at the FBI and Orlando Police for their great work managing such a tragic and difficult incident."

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