Cincinnati's reaction to the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 23:46:35-04

CINCINNATI -- Although Cincinnati is nearly 900 miles away, Tri-State residents, leaders and businesses are all sharing condolences and grieving with Orlando and the gay community after a mass shooter killed 50 people and injured more than 50 more inside Orlando's Pulse nightclub overnight.

Jim Obergefell, the face of the landmark Supreme Court case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage last year, said the U.S. has come a long way but still has a long way to go.

"I hope what comes out of this is a greater understanding and a greater desire to stop the rhetoric, stop the lies, stop the hatred director at people who are different," he said. "At the end of the day, we are all human."

"It's a sad day," Cincinnati PRIDE Co-President Shawn Baker said. "It's a terribly day. But, like all over the world, we'll come together and be a stronger community for this, after this. That's what's most important."

The rush of people -- not just gay or trans people -- giving blood in the hours after the attack were proof that these events just make the LGBT community stronger, according to Cincinnati PRIDE Co-President Shawn Baker.

"It's a sad day," Baker said. "It's a terribly day. But, like all over the world, we'll come together and be a stronger community for this, after this. That's what's most important."

Baker said he expected the PRIDE parade in Cincinnati this year to have even more than the 90,000 who attended last year, and he expected Cincinnati police would be able to keep the crowds safe.

"We have one of the best police departments in the country," he said.

A crowd gathered at the Dock Complex club Downtown Sunday night to remember those who lost their lives in Orlando.

The attack seemed like one that could have happened anywhere, they said.

"My heart broke," Charlee McGinnis said. "I work in a nightclub. This could have easily happened here."


A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, killing at least 50 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

The suspect was identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Mateen's father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News about his son seeing men kissing a couple of months ago.

The attack had nothing to do with religion, he said.

Authorities were investigating the attack on the Florida dance hall as an act of terrorism.

When asked if the gunman had a connection to radical Islamic terrorism, Hopper said authorities had "suggestions that individual has leanings towards that."

Mateen called 911 after the shooting began to pledge his allegiance to ISIS, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

The conversation surrounding radical Islamic terrorism isn't lost in Cincinnati.

Local Muslims condemned the attack.

In a news release, the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati said its members were "outraged at horrific violence."

"We join with the Orlando community and all Americans in expressing our profound outrage, grief, and condemnation of this sickening act of senseless violence that violates all human decency," they wrote. "Hate, bigotry and violence are our common enemy."

Pulse was a well-known gay bar in Orlando, and many are delivering statements of support to the LGBT community.


The owners of Below Zero, a well-known local gay bar, said that even through it happened far away, the local LGBT community was feeling the loss and depending on each other for support. Juan Carlos Diaz knew two people at Pulse -- they're both OK.

"I was just horrified," Diaz said. "It can be anywhere in America."

Below Zero said it plans to host a peaceful gathering Monday at 7 p.m.

Casey Hayes with the Cincinnati Men's Chorus said they would continue to fight hate.

"This is one of the reasons why we have GLBT choruses, because our work is never done," Hayes said. "We will always be a minority, there will always be a majority that has an opinion over us."