Illinoisans have joined the nation in mourning the massive loss of life following the Sunday morning terrorist attack in an Orlando nightclub.
At least 49 people were killed and another 53 were injured after a gunman opened fire at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, at approximately 2 a.m. EST on Sunday. The attack marks the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The gunman, who reportedly swore his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 phone call, was shot and killed by police after a three-hour hostage situation.
Two vigils were held in Chicago Sunday evening in remembrance of the Orlando shooting victims in the city's Andersonville and Boystown neighborhoods on the city's North Side. A vigil was also held downstate in Carbondale at the Gaia House, where a number of community heads were in attendannce, including a prominent Muslim leader who offered words of condolences to those affected by the attack.
"Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the people who were hurt and assassinated in Orlando, but our grief is more than doubled by our anger," LGBT rights activist and Sidetrack bar co-owner Art Johnston said at the vigil in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the mass shooting in Orlando a "horrifying act of terrorism" and "an attack on our most fundamental values as Americans."
"On behalf of the city of Chicago, Amy and I send our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of those who were lost," the mayor said in a statement. "June is a time when all Chicagoans and all Americans proudly celebrate the contributions of our LGBT community. This horrendous violence will only deepen our resolve to continue building a society that values everyone, regardless of who they love. The thoughts and prayers of Chicago will remain with the victims of this attack as they seek comfort and courage in the days ahead."
Emanuel said the Sunday attack will not affect Chicago's annual gay pride parade schedule.
"We will not be intimidated by those who use fear and violence to attack our most fundamental values of inclusiveness and community," Emanuel said. "Two weeks from today I look forward to joining many others in Chicago as we come together as a city to celebrate those values, and the LGBT community, at our Pride Parade.''
Another vigil to memorialize the Pulse victims will be held in Chicago Monday night at the Center on Halsted in the Lakeview neighborhood at 7 p.m.