Photo by Joey Roulette
June 12, 2016
Orlando leaders were mostly in shock Monday afternoon after a gunman shot and killed 58 people at a country music festival from the high floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Sunday-night massacre is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Until hours ago, the notorious title was held by the June 2016 shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, where a gunman ended the lives of 49 people.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a press conference
this morning that the news of the Las Vegas shooting took him back to the morning of the Pulse shooting.
"We woke up this morning to another unimaginable tragedy in our country," he said. "When I first heard the news this morning, my heart sunk."
Dyer says he called the mayor of Las Vegas to offer assistance and support in setting up a victim assistance center. Orlando's mayor also encouraged those affected by the Pulse tragedy to call the Orlando United Assistance Center at 407-500-HOPE (4673).
"There's no doubt that the Las Vegas tragedy will provoke emotional anguish in those that are here in our community that were impacted by Pulse," he says. "If you know a Pulse survivor or a family member of those that were lost, go check in on them. … Our thoughts and prayers are with victims and their families. Orlando stands united with Las Vegas and we'll be here to support Las Vegas over the long term in any way we can."
Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs also reacted to the news on Twitter.
In a statement, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says the Las Vegas shooting was "another sad day in American history in which innocent people have once again been killed in a mass shooting."
"Our prayers are for the victims and their families during their period of grief," Demings says. "We encourage citizens to continue providing information to law enforcement about suspicious persons prone to violence. We are only as good at stopping such attacks as the information that we receive from the public."
Barbara Poma, owner of the Pulse nightclub, also released a statement
"Finding words to convey the depth of horror we are all witnessing in Las Vegas is just impossible," Poma says. "It is unimaginable that another mass shooting of even greater scope than that of Pulse nightclub could occur again in this country, but indeed, it has. We must work harder to stop these crimes that destroy human life. We pray for those whose lives were taken, as well as for the wounded and the hundreds who will forever be affected by this monumental tragedy."
In an opinion post for CNN,
Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf wrote that the "Orlando community is hurting today, for Las Vegas and for ourselves." Wolf writes:
"Though over a year has passed since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, where 49 people were killed, including my closest friend, this new horror from Las Vegas brought me back to that same sense of dread. I can feel the pain in survivors' stories. I ache with grief for the mothers and fathers awaiting word from their children. I can remember the wall-to-wall news coverage.
I have tried to forget waiting for my best friend's name and photo to appear on a list of victims. Today, all those terrors are back. … A wound that had barely begun to heal has been ripped open and laid bare by a man apparently armed like a soldier.
As it did so many months ago, gun violence is again tearing at the seams of the country – and this is felt so acutely by those affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting.
To the people impacted in Las Vegas: we love you. I love you. If I have learned any lesson from the dark road to recovery from mass violence, it is that we all need love more than we would like to admit. Stand together. Link arms. Embrace. And know that while you begin the work of healing a deep wound, Orlando is standing with you."