Breaking News Emails
The horrific mass shooting in Orlando early Sunday morning ripped a giant hole in America's heart in general, and is particularly devastating to the LGBT community.
Entertainment and media figures, including presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, took to social media to express their thoughts about the massacre at the Pulse club, which catered to the gay community.
While many officials referred to the act as a potential act of terrorism, the suspects father said his son had recently been enraged by seeing two men kiss at a Miami mall.
And the shootings come hours before CBS' live telecast tonight of the 70th annual Tony Awards. Producers were scrambling Sunday morning to find a way for the telecast to address the slayings in Orlando, sources said.
During remarks at the White House on Sunday afternoon, President Barack Obama called the shooting an "an act of terror and an act of hate," adding that it was "a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub."
Condolences and reactions poured in from around the country and around the world.
A statement from the Vatican said that "Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion," while in a statement posted on Twitter, French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also offered condolences, saying in a statement "that the Russian people share the pain and grief of those who lost family and loved ones as a result of this barbaric crime."
Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, the first openly gay U.S. senator, described the shooting in a statement as "not only a horrific attack on the LGBT community, it was an attack on the freedoms we all hold dear."
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, who was nearly killed during a mass shooting in 2011, said in a joint statement with her husband that such events cannot be accepted "as a new normal."
"We cannot let armed ambushes become the new normal in our country," said Giffords, who now helps run an anti-gun violence organization with her husband, Mark Kelly. "We have to do better than this."
Gay celebrities like Ricky Martin and George Takei also weighed in, with Martin saying that he "was not afraid."
"Love conquers all," he wrote in Twitter.
The Tony Awards dedicated tonight’s ceremony to the victims, saying in a statement: "Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando."
In Florida, LGBTQ clergy leaders were expected to hold a vigil on Sunday night, followed by a gathering of Muslim and LGBTQ leaders to condemn the violence.
Equality Florida said the group was "reeling" from the news, and set up a GoFundMe page for the victims.