As Vigils Dot Nation, Victims' Fund Raises $1M in Hours

A GoFundMe account has raised more than $1.3M
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2016 3:58 AM CDT
Vigils Held Across US for Orlando Victims
A person places a rose by a flag during a vigil at the Center, a community center for the LGBT community, on Sunday in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

Across the United States, people gathered Sunday night at vigils honoring the victims of a shooting attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 50 people dead and 53 wounded. In Miami Beach, mourners lit candles, embraced, and waved rainbow flags, the AP reports. Members of LGBT groups and their supporters met in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago. Among them was Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the city has stepped up security in gay communities. Also there in solidarity were mothers who have lost their children to gun violence. Hundreds of people in Austin, Texas, attended an evening vigil at the Capitol that included Muslim leaders and a Christian pastor, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Investigators are still trying to determine the motives of gunman Omar Mateen, but LGBT activists had no doubt that their community was the intended target. "Our practices and institutions may change in light of this tragedy—LGBT gathering places may have more security now," Rev. Alisan Rowland, pastor of the LGBT-welcoming Metropolitan Community Church of New Orleans, tells the AP. "But we will never, ever go away. We will never be cowed." WHNT reports that a GoFundMe page has been set up to help victims and families affected by the mass shooting. In 20 hours, it raised more than $1.3 million. (More mass shootings stories.)

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