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8.00AM: Orlando glbti community in shock, mourning

Mon 13 Jun 2016 In: International News View at Wayback View at NDHA

To read GayNZ.com's live rolling coverage from Monday night and most of yesterday click here. 10.00AM Tuesday NZT live update: US presidential candidate Donald Trump is grabbing media headlines through ramping up his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and pro-gun ownership rhetoric to much criticism from liberal circles. The mosque where the gunman worshiped is becoming a target of anti-Muslim abuse from people driving by. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is taking a considerably more moderate stance calling for action on gun control and calling the massacre both a hate crime and a terrorist attack. She has called for Americans to "stand together" in the face of hatred and terrorism and is making possibly unachievable promises of action against terrorism. Police negotiators say they were in contact with the gunman who appeared generally calm during the attack and talked about bombs and said he was wearing a vest. The father of the gunman, who presents a pro-Taliban TV programme from California posted a video 24 hours after the attack saying he was "not aware what motivated him to go into a gay club and kill people." But later in the same video he says "God will punish those involved in homosexuality," saying it's, "not an issue that humans should deal with." Orlando's gay community is pulling together in grief. Night vigils have been held in the city including around oen of it's iconic lakes. The long-running Parliament House glbti motel/hotel has the words "We are Pulse. Unbreakable" on its marquee. There are tears and shock as many glbti people learn of the fates of their partners, family members, friends and acquaintances. Juan Guererro Eddie Justice Enrique Rios A cousin of Juan Ramon Guererro has described how the 22-year old student and telemarketer had only come out to his family a year ago. He had feared their reaction but the family embraced him and his boyfriend. "As long as he was happy, they were OK with it," the cousin said. Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, a 30-year old accountant texted his mother from inside the club that the gunman was nearby. His mother spent the following day searching for him before learning that he had been killed. Enrique Rios, 25, is described as "a funny and cool dude. He used to tell me, 'don't let world hold you back from your dreams.'" His death was confirmed by his partner. 7.00AM Tuesday NZT live update: Orlando police have overnight released the names of 48 of the people who died in the attack on the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Five of the names appear to be female, the remainder male, many are Latin-American. The number of dead victims of the attack, the worst mass shooting in US history, is 49. Many of the wounded remain in critical condition in hospitals around Orlando. A fragment of video has emerged from the start of the gunman's rampage inside the club. It shows one of the victims who was killed and was released by her brother. Some details of the attack and seige are emerging... initial attempts to use explosives to break into the club where the gunman was holding glbti patrons and staff hostage were only partially successful. An armoured vehicle was then used to smash into a bathroom wall where the gunman was holding hostages. He apparently emerged shooting and was gunned down. Survivors have described panic and chaos inside the club as the shooting started with people screaming and dropping to the floor, a rush for the exits and people getting trampled, more and more dead and wounded covered with blood and the increasing smell of ammunition in the air. Orlando authorities have decided to stop using the gunman's name in order to avoid unintentionally supporting ideas by other radicalised individuals that they will achieve fame and glory through such attacks. GayNZ.com Daily News will from this point onwards follow their lead in this policy. The FBI says there is strong evidence the gunman was self-radicalised and no evidence that he was in contact with ISIL despite him claiming allegiance to ISIL during the seige and ISIL claiming him as one of their own after the attack. They say prior to the attack they had investigated his claims that he was associated with various Islamic terrorist groups and that he was increasingly angry at co-workers regarding what he perceived as their anti-Muslim bias against him. There was insufficient evidence that he represented a credible threat for action to be taken. Solidarity at the LA Pride parade 9.00PM Monday NZT live update: Vigils marking 24hrs since the Orlando gay club massacre have been held around the world including in Paris, Tel Aviv and Rome. In New Zealand vigils were held at Frank Kitts park in Wellington and Western Park, Auckland. Hundreds of people gathered at each event to hear speeches, light candles and show solidarity with the traumatised Orlando GLBTI community. Celebrated author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, has expressed her distress that an operator of the Harry Potter Ride at a Florida theme park was one of the victims. She has tweeted: "Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can't stop crying... I'm so, so sorry. My heart goes out to you, all his friends and his poor family." The Queen has sent a message of solidarity to President Barack Obama: "Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.'" British PM David Cameron has tweeted: "I'm horrified by reports of the shooting... my thoughts are with the victims and their families." The mayor of London has said: "I stand with the city of Orlando against hate and bigotry. My thoughts are with all the victims of this horrific attack." In Melbourne those attending a vigil observed a 50-second silence, one second for each person who has died so far. A crowd has sung "we shall overcome" outside the White House in Washington and huge letters spelt our "ORLANDO" at the head of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade. 5.00PM Monday NZT live update: If you've got the stomach for it here's a sampling of the vicious comments popping up on social media about the Orlando gay nightclub massacre. The Tony Awards, a celebration of Broadway and theatrical excellence, has got underway in New York with host James Corden dedicating the night to celebrate the diversity of Broadway. "Hate will never win," he said. "Together we have to make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle," he said. “Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, embraced, and loved. Hate will never win.” A few notable and moving speeches paying tribute to the Orlando victims were given by Miranda, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella and others. Auckland's Aotea Centre's flag is at half-mast and tonight as the sun sets the Sky Tower will be illuminated in rainbow colours in solidarity with those who have died and those who are mourning their loss. 4.15PM Monday NZT live update: In a deeply bitter irony gay men queuing to donate much-needed blood in the aftermath of the Orlando gay club massacre are being turned away from an Orlando blood bank. Official guidelines in the USA recommend that the blood gay men who have had sex in the past year should not be accepted. A blanket restriction in place since 1983 at the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was relaxed last December to allow those who have not had sex within six months to donate blood. Initial reports suggested all gay men were being turned away from the long queues of willing donors and a statement from blood bank OneBlood had suggested that all people regardless of sexuality or sexual experience could donate. OneBlood has confirmed it is following the latest official guidelines. A stunned Orlando, Florida, gblti community is beginning to put faces and names to the victims of the overnight massacre which saw fifty people shot dead in a gay nightclub. An official list contains just eight names so far as authorities work through the laborious task of identifying the victims and informing partners and families. Most of the victims names so far appear to be latino men, all aged in their 20s and 30s. The packed Pulse nightclub had been hosting a 'Latino Flavour' themed night when the gunman began his rampage. We won't be able to list or detail them all but , for instance, Edward Sotomayor Jr, 34, was at the club with his boyfriend whose condition is unknown. Luis Vielma worked at the Universal Studios theme park. "He was always a friend you could call," says a friend and workmate. "He was always open and available." A makeshift memorial several blocks from the site of the massacre of 50 glbti people at the Pulse nightclub. 3.00PM Monday NZT live update: Twenty hours after the massacre of fifty patrons of a glbti club in Orlando, Florida most of the bodies still remain inside the shattered building. Observers say four bodies have been taken away so far. People pay their respects on San Francisco's Castro Street, heart of the city's glbti community. Informal memorials have been springing up around central Orlando expressing grief and solidarity. Similarly floral tributes and rainbow flags are appearing around the USA and around the world. It has been reported that a British-born Islamic preacher, Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar, gave a speech just outside Orlando in March in which he called for the death of all homosexuals. “Death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence,” he said. The shooter's ex-wife has been identified as Sitora Yusifiy. She has told reporters in Boulder, Colorado, that Mateen was bipolar and also had a history with steroids. She says that in the four months they were together he cut her off from her family and regularly beat her. She says that her family visited her and saw she wasn't OK and rescued her from the situation. Yusifiy says they literally pulled her out of his arms. She says she left all her belongings and has had no contact with him for seven or eight years. She says Mateen was religious, but she saw no signs of radicalism. The shooter's father apparently hosts a programme on a California-based TV programme which supports the Taliban. Last Saturday he appeared on the programme dressed in military fatigues and announced he would be a candidate for the presidency of Afghanistan. He last night NZ time told reporters his son's actions were not based on religion but on being shocked at seeing two gay men publicly kissing in the presence of his wife and child. It appears a 911 call made by the shooter declaring his allegiance to ISIL was made from within the Pulse club.The names of the eight victims have been released to the public, with the stories of some beginning to emerge. According to the Associated Press, “Juan Ramon Guerrero was a homebody and student who'd recently come out to his family. Stanley Almodovar III was a cheery pharmacy technician from Massachusetts whose friend remembers him on Facebook saying he always “[b]rought a smile to my face every time I was down. Its going to be hard walking into work and not seeing you bounce around like you always do."  Edward Sotomayor promoted a gay cruise line, and to his cousin, David, "he was just always part of the fun.” The three men are among the 50 who lost their lives during the mass shooting, their friends and family have expressed their heartbreak upon hearing the news. Other named victims include; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, Stanley Almodovar III, 23, Luis Omar, Ocasio-Capo, 20, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22, Luis S. Vielma, 22 and Kimberly Morris, 37. Edward Sotomayor’s cousin, David Sotomayor told the AP "You never think that's going to be the last time you speak to him. It's just heartbreaking to know it just can happen any time.” 53 people were injured during the shooting and hospital physicians say the death toll, which currently stands at 50, may rise as many patients who survived the attack are severely injured and are in a critical condition. NBC News reports that a relative of Marissa Delgado, a woman who was shot six times in the shooting, had lost a lot of blood and was in surgery but not doing well. President Obama has ordered American flags to be flown at half mast as a mark of respect of the victims of the attack. The attack has become political fodder with presidential candidate Donald Trump crowing that he has been proved right for wanting the US to take a harder stance on what he calls Islamist extremism. He has tweeted: "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness   

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 13th June 2016 - 2:23pm

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