ATLANTA - An overflowing crowd of mourners gathered in the heart of Midtown Atlanta to remember those gunned down inside a popular Orlando nightclub.
The vigil, which quickly filled the parking lot of TEN, forced the closure of busy intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street Sunday night.
People showed up carrying candles and rainbow flags to show their support for the LGBT community.
“What happened last night affects all of our safety. It shows us that places that we go to have fun and to live and to laugh are places that we can still be killed," said Matt Garrett, who helped organized the vigil. "We have a long way to go.”
The event was held in what is widely known as the center of Atlanta’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Their message Sunday night was to so show that violence will not bring them down, but will instead bring them together, stronger than before.
“We deserve equal rights. We are equal citizens and there's no need for terrorist acts just because we're a little different,” said volunteer Ivette Lopez.
Despite their resolve, the pain is still present and the healing will not come easy.
“Of course this is not the first time that violence has happened in a nightclub or a bar or a bookstore, but to know that the largest mass shooting in U.S. history happened last night in a place that my friends go to just be together is devastating and I don't think that me or my friends for a while will be able to step foot in what used to be safe haven without thinking of the danger that could happen,” said Garrett.
Burkhart's general manager Don Hunnywell said local managers met at his bar Sunday to discuss ideas on how to help assist staffers from the Orlando bar and share ideas to improve security at their own businesses. Hunnywell says The Armorettes and the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are holding a vigil Sunday evening for the victims in the shootings.
A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub, early Sunday. At least 50 people were killed.
General manager Aaron Born of local gay bar Woofs of Piedmont called the Orlando shooting an "American tragedy." He hopes the bar and nightclub owners can openly communicate with an incident occurs at their business.