(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Thousands gathered in downtown Orlando Monday night for the city’s first official vigil since Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub, which killed and wounded dozens.
People mourned the victims at the plaza at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts by laying flowers, waving rainbow flags, lighting candles and shedding tears. The Orlando Gay Chorus performed shortly after the event commenced at 7 p.m.
“I wasn’t expecting as many people. I’m still kind of in shock a little bit,” Orlando resident Elizabeth Cortes, 26, told ABC News. “Being here makes it a little more surreal. The turnout is amazing. Like they say, love conquers.”
The shooting at Pulse nightclub, which bills itself on its website as “Orlando’s Premier Gay Night Club,” unfolded over the course of three hours early Sunday morning when Omar Mateen, approached the venue armed with a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a Glock handgun.
After exchanging gunfire with an officer stationed outside the club, he entered and sprayed partygoers with bullets. Mateen called 911 during the rampage and calmly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. He was later killed in a gunbattle with a SWAT team.
Fifty people are dead, including the gunman, and 53 others were injured in the shooting.
During the vigil, Orlando Mayer Buddy Dyer said officials have identified all 49 deceased victims.
“Today, we have identified all 49 victims and we have notified the next of kin of all 49 victims,” Dyer said.
Some mourners held signs calling for peace and love, while others carried photos of victims who were their friends and family members.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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