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London’s Old Compton Street to join hands and pay tribute to victims of mass shooting in Orlando

Joseph McCormick June 12, 2016

The heart of London’s Soho will stop and hold hands tomorrow in a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting in an Orlando gay club.

The death toll in the Orlando Pulse club mass shooting has risen to 50, with at least 52 injured, the city’s Mayor has confirmed.

The rising number makes the atrocity the worst shooting in American history.

Orlando’s mayor, Buddy Dyer, confirmed the number just before 10:30 local time on Sunday.

Bars on London’s Old Compton Street will stop serving at 19:00 GMT on Monday 13 June, and invite punters onto the street to hold hands and pay tribute to those lost and injured in the tragedy.

The gesture hope to send a message of solidarity with those in Orlando and the global LGBT community.

Those organising are requesting stewards for the event, who should be there at 6pm.
A Facebook event for tomorrow’s vigil is available here.

With more than a hundred now confirmed dead or injured, the shooting has become the worst in American history – the second worst killing would be the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007, which left 32 people dead and 17 injured.

After that is the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook which left 20 children and six adults dead.

Omar Mateen was named as the shooter in the incident which killed at least 50.

The US citizen’s parents are from Afghanistan, and FBI agent Ron Hopper spoke to reporters to say that he may have leanings towards Islamic extremism.

But his father said the incident was not religiously motivated.

The shooter, a resident of Port St Lucie, Florida, was killed after a “gun battle” with police officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Now Mateen’s father has apologised for the incident, saying he did not think his son was religiously motivated.

He also said that his son, 29, got angry a few months ago after he saw two men kiss in Orlando.

The shooter, a resident of Port St Lucie, Florida, was killed after a “gun battle” with police officers in the early hours of Sunday morning.

His identity was revealed by CBS News, the Washington Post, and NBC News. The BBC suggests that although he was not on a terrorist watch-list, he may have been being investigated for a previous crime.

As well as a  White House statement condemning the attack, which authorities described as a “terrorist incident”,  an appeal was put out for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors.

The White House statement read: “The President was briefed this morning by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

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Those able to donate blood should visit https://www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate.

The city, best known for the Disney theme parks is home to gay venue, the Pulse Club, where the incident took place in the early hours of Sunday morning (12 June).

Police detonated a controlled explosion at the scene, which they described as a “distractionary device”. It was later confirmed that the gunman had died.

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer described the crime as “horrific” at a press conference this morning.

An Orange County Sherriff described the incident as a “domestic terrorist incident”, which was confirmed by the FBI, a spokesman said: “Domestic or international, it’s terrorism”.

Authorities urged any witnesses to call ‘1-800-CALL FBI’ with any information.

It was confirmed that an officer attended the Pulse club and engaged with a “gun battle” with a shooter who was using an assault rifle and a pistol.

“This turned into a hostage situation. Multiple officers from various agencies responded. ” said police.

“We will take them to the ultimate end” said police of any possible accomplices in the shooting.

Police also said: “The shooter was organised and well prepared. He is not from this area”.

Multiple officers from local, state and federal agencies responded to the incident at the club, where approximately 320 people were in attendance.

At approx 05:00 this morning the decision was made to rescue hostages after people phoned police from the toilets in the nightclub. The police drove a truck through the wall in order to distract the gunman.

One officer’s life was saved by his kevlar helmet during the gun battle, authorities said.

The nightclub posted on its Facebook page as the shooting unfolded: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running”.
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An eyewitness told WESH that he was in the hospital when they brought people in and that there was “blood everywhere”. The friend of someone in the club at the time of the shooting said that there were “bodies everywhere”.

Dozens of family members and friends were out in the street and at the hospital attempting to find out information on their loved ones.

Adding: “Any information you have could aid investigators in this case.”

Despite no information being readily available on a motive of the shooter, a witness at the #Pulse #Orlando shooting said: “Wake up – we are just like you – why kill us?” … “just let us live”

“This happens every day – not only trans, not only LGBT – we all get killed every day – WHY? Because you’re afraid of what you don’t understand and you reject the unfamiliar.”

More: London, Old Compton Street, Orlando, Orlando Massacre

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