More than 100 Baltimore mourners for the Orlando, Florida victims gathered at Mt. Vernon Place Sunday evening in Baltimore to pay their respects to the families that lost loved ones in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.
A candlelight vigil was held at the site and there were prayers, songs and speeches. Gay & Lesbian rainbow-colored banners and flags were displayed. Mourners sang the popular ballad, “We Shall Overcome,” which had its origins in the “Civil Rights Movement.”
Baltimore City Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, peace activist Ralph Moore addressed the crowd.
Backstory: The victims of the shooting rampage were killed at the Pulse Nightclub, a popular LGBT nightclub and bar, in Orlando. Police confirmed at least 50 dead and 53 wounded as a result of the massacre. The suspected gunman, Omar Mateen, was killed by the police who stormed the club.
The largest mass shooting in U.S. history and has been described as an “act of terrorism” by government officials. Mateen pledged his loyalty to ISIS during a 911 call that he made 20 minutes into the shooting, police said.
The FBI interviewed Mateen in 2013 and 2014 after he made comments to co-workers supporting ISIS, law enforcement officials said. He was cleared at that time and not considered a threat.
Gay & Lesbian groups, as well as GLCCB organizations, around the country are holding vigils in response to the shocking and terrifying Orlando killings. Another vigil is planned for Baltimore Monday at 7 pm. It will be held at Ynot Lot, 4 West North Avenue.
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Bill Hughes is an attorney, author, actor and photographer. His latest book is “Byline Baltimore.” It can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/William-Hughes/e/B00N7MGPXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1