On June 12, 2016, multiple people were shot in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. At least 50 were killed and 53 wounded. The gunman was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an American citizen of Afghan descent. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting in United States.
June 12, 2016
Remarks by the President on Mass Shooting in Orlando
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:59 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder — a horrific massacre — of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.
I just finished a meeting with FBI Director Comey and my homeland security and national security advisors. The FBI is on the scene and leading the investigation, in partnership with local law enforcement. I’ve directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.
We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism. And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.
This morning I spoke with my good friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed the condolences of the entire American people. This could have been any one of our communities. So I told Mayor Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need — they are going to get it. As a country, we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.
We also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed into harm’s way. Their courage and professionalism saved lives, and kept the carnage from being even worse. It’s the kind of sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals make every single day for all of us, and we can never thank them enough.
This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.
So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
3:40 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Four days ago, this community was shaken by an evil and hateful act. Today, we are reminded of what is good. That there is compassion, empathy and decency, and most of all, there is love. That’s the Orlando that we’ve seen in recent days. And that is the America that we have seen.
This afternoon, the Vice President and I had the opportunity to meet with many of the families here. As you might imagine, their grief is beyond description. Through their pain and through their tears, they told us about the joy that their loved ones had brought to their lives. They talked about their sons or their daughters — so many young people, in their 20s and 30s; so many students who were focused on the future. One young woman was just 18 years old. Another, said her father, was a happy girl with so many dreams.
There were siblings there talking about their brothers and their sisters and how they were role models that they looked up to. There were husbands and wives who had taken a solemn vow; fathers and mothers who gave their full hearts to their children. These families could be our families. In fact, they are our family — they’re part of the American family. Today, the Vice President and I told them, on behalf of the American people, that our hearts are broken, too, but we stand with you and that we are here for you, and that we are remembering those who you loved so deeply.
As a nation, we’ve also been inspired by the courage of those who risked their lives and cared for others. Partners whose last moments were spent shielding each other. The mother who gave her life to save her son. The former Marine whose quick thinking saved dozens of lives.
Joe and I had the chance to thank Mayor Dyer, Chief Mina, Sheriff Demings, all who responded in heroic ways; the outstanding police and first responders who were able to, through their professionalism and quick response, rescue so many people. We also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all the doctors, all the nurses who have worked day and night to treat the injured, save lives and prevent even more anguish. As one of the doctors here said, “after the worst of humanity reared its ugly head…the best of humanity came roaring back.” Let me get that quote more precisely — “after the worst of humanity reared its evil head…the best of humanity came roaring back.”
- 6/14/16 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada’s Condolence Call for the Terrorist Attack in Orlando, Florida to President Obama
- 6/14/16 President Francois Hollande of France’s Condolence Call for the Terrorist Attack in Orlando, Florida to President Obama
Angels’ to block Westboro Baptist Church’s protest at Orlando memorial
Saturday, June 18, 2016 By Beth Spotswood Updated 8:22 am SFGate
Angels really do exist — at least in Orlando. When the reviled hate group Westboro Baptist Church announced that it would be picketing the funerals of the victims of the Orlando gay bar shooting tragedy, a group of actors decided to fight back in a decidedly heavenly way.
Per American Theatre, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Angel Action Wings Project have teamed up to clothe local actors in massive white linen angel wings in the hopes of blocking the 40-member “church” group and their hate-filled signs, the most startlingly recognizable of which is “God Hates Fags.” Thanks to donations, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater is building each of the angel ensembles in their costume shop.
The Westboro Baptist Church proudly pickets at least five spots every day, mostly in the Topeka, Kansas, area. For high-profile memorials, however, by its own insane account, the hate-group has traveled to all 50 states, picketing the funeral of the 9-year-old girl killed in the Arizona shooting most known for injuring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, as well as the service for Steve Jobs. It is also known for organizing a protest against the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The WBC posts its daily protest schedule on its website. Today’s begins, “No coincidence that God is smacking Orlando with grievous sorrow, killing your children with shooters and alligators, when you are about to belly up to ‘father’s day’!”