Apopka comes together in prayers for the victims
The Apopka community continued its support for the victims of The Pulse Nightclub shootings this afternoon with a prayer vigil held at Kit Land Nelson Park in Apopka. Carmen Ruiz-Ore, the sales and marketing manager at FASTSIGNS, quickly organized the event, and an estimated crowd of 75 attended.
"I've always know that when things are tough, God is the only one that can fix it," said Ruiz-Ore. "I knew this morning that with the Orlando shooting being so close that people in our community would be effected. With the help of Jennifer and AJ Cardoza, Lorena Potter, Jerry Mynard, Debra White and our local spiritual and elected officials we were able to gather."
Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, County Commissioner Bryan Nelson, and City Commissioners Doug Bankson, Kyle Becker and Billie Dean spoke at the event. Commissioner Diane Velazquez also attended. Apopka Christian Ministerial Alliance President Hezekiah Bradford prayed for the victims, and Isadora Dean (a candidate for The Orange County School Board District 7) led the group in The Lord's Prayer.
More photos of the event below.
Updating: Gunman identified as Omar Mateen; referenced ISIS in 911 call
Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, has been identified as the deceased gunman, officials said Sunday. According to the FBI, Mateen pledged his support for ISIS and invoked the names of the Boston marathon bombers in 911 calls made amid his attack on the gay nightclub.
Direct links have not yet been established between Mateen and ISIS, but the terror group claimed responsibility for the shooting through a statement via its Amaq news agency.
Mateen, 29, was born in New York. His parents are from Afghanistan. The family later moved to Florida, according to published reports and he has recently lived in Fort Pierce, Fla., in St. Lucie County, which is roughly 123 miles south of Orlando.
Mir Seddique, the suspected shooter’s father, told NBC News that the mass shooting had “nothing to do with religion.” He also said Mateen got angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago and that he thinks that may have been a trigger in the shooting.
“We are apologizing for the whole incident,” he told NBC News. “We weren’t aware of any action he taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”