Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American man, shot and killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12; many more were injured. The shooter was also killed, bringing the toll to 50. It is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The nightclub was PULSE Orlando, a dedicated queer space and venue in Orlando.
June is national PRIDE month in the U.S.
John O’Malley, marketing manager for The Wayward Lamb — a queer space and bar in downtown Eugene, spoke about the Orlando tragedy outside the Lamb early Sunday afternoon. O’Malley attended college in Orlando and had been a patron of the club, even hosting his graduation celebration there. See video below.
There will also be a candlelight vigil for the victims of the mass murder at 8 pm tonight in Kesey Square, at the crossroads of Willamette and Broadway.
“Our freedoms began in dedicated queer spaces,” O’Malley told a small crowd gathered at the Lamb, pointing out that the LGBTQIA community is no stranger to violent attacks, recalling Stonewall, The Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans, the Backstreet Cafe shooting and many more.
“Our deepest condolences to all the individuals affected by this unspeakable tragedy,” O’Malley continued. “To the owners and staff of Pulse Orlando, and especialy the LGBTQIA community of Orange County, Florida, and the impact this will have on all of them moving forward.”
He added: “Stay strong and stay proud. The Wayward Lamb family and the LGBTQIA community of Lane County stand in solidarity.”
When KEZI asked O’Malley about the security of the LGBTQIA community locally he responded:
“It affects all of us. It happened in Orlando; it could happen anywhere.” He explained that Eugene has a welcoming community, but so does Orlando.
“The unfortunate part about it is it can happen anywhere at anytime.”
Watch video below:[Editor’s note: This blog post has been changed to reflect the updated count of victims.]