PHOENIX — Mourners in Phoenix gathered Sunday night to grieve and pay their respects to the victims of a mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub.
The Phoenix Pride LGBT Center hosted the vigil, which was quickly pulled together by Mayor Greg Stanton, Equality Arizona, Phoenix Pride and religious organizations.
A gunman killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in the early hours Sunday, and wounded 53.
Omar Mateen was shot dead in gunfire exchange with police.
Federal authorities investigated Mateen in 2013 for possible ties to an American who carried out a suicide attack in Syria but was cleared.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that it was possible Matten was self-radicalized but no direct links between Mateen and the Islamic State overseas had been found.
His actions stunned the United States and beyond.
Hundreds showed up at the Phoenix vigil.
“We love everyone in the city of Phoenix,” Stanton said, “and when terrible things like this happen, I see the best in our community, here, tonight.
“… We are here with a powerful message — we will not be moved.”
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, who’s gay, told the crowd at the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center, the LGBT community will not be intimidated.
“We’re not going afraid. We’re going to stand up against this hate. United against this hate.”
Azra Hussain, president and executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona offered his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the shooting.
“I’m sickened by the senseless loss of life. I’m disgusted by the hate-filled criminal who perpetrated this heinous act.”
Cities across the country and the world held or planned vigils in support of the victims’ families and the gay and lesbian communities.
The Eiffel Tower in France will shine in rainbow colors Monday night. French President Francois Hollande condemned the mass killing as an attack on freedom. He vowed to toughen the fight against terrorism “at the side of the American people.”
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Barack Obama that “Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We are firmly determined, even when such murderous attacks put us into deep sorrow, to continue with our open, tolerant life.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a letter to Obama that Israel stood “shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters” after the attack.
KTAR’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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