New Haven community gathers to remember victims of Orlando shoot - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Haven community gathers to remember victims of Orlando shooting

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A huge crowd gathered in Seattle, WA Sunday to mourn those killed in Sunday morning’s mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, in which 50 people were killed.  (Source: CNN) A huge crowd gathered in Seattle, WA Sunday to mourn those killed in Sunday morning’s mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, in which 50 people were killed. (Source: CNN)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

While so many questions remain from the Orlando night club shooting, the city of New Haven, and its police department, are stepping up patrols out of an abundance of caution.

There is no threat in New Haven, or any place in Connecticut, but police said they will have a presence in the diverse community, and at public gatherings, to keep things safe.

"I think the best way people should approach going out and enjoying themselves, which people should continue to do, we're not going to stop our lives because of a terrorist attack or a hate crime,” said New Haven Police Officer David Hartman.

Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen entered Pulse, a popular gay night club in Orlando, and starting firing, killing 49 people and injuring dozens more.

"Just could not believe somebody would actually have so much hatred within themselves,” said John D. Allen, co-president of the New Haven Pride Center, who founded the group 20 years ago.

The community is crushed by Sunday’s news, happening during Pride Month.

"When we were younger, it is the safe place to go, the bars is where gay people have traditionally gone to and I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I didn't have gay bars to go to when I was younger, coming out and discovering where my people would be, to have that violence, sent shock waves around the world, certainly feel it here in Connecticut,” Allen said.

In response to the shooting, New Haven’s police chief ordered officers to focus on the city’s public gathering places, especially night clubs, bars, concert halls, LGBTQ venues, theaters and any public space.

“We've got a carnival coming up in New Haven, we're in the midst of International Festival of Arts and Idea, they're events you'll see a larger police presence,” Hartman said.

Police are also reminding people about the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, and when in a public space, think of it like a trip on an airplane and take a look around and see where the exits are and be aware of your surroundings.

"New York's parade is coming up at the end of the month, always a huge draw, for people in Connecticut. We'll be extra vigilant,” Allen said.

Crowds gathered for an interfaith vigil on Monday evening at the United Church on the New Haven green.

Right before the vigil, a group gathered for what it called a "Speak out for Safety, Rally for Hope" event, organized by members of the LGBTQ community 

"It gives me chills, because you walk into a gay club, any religion, any race and you'd be welcomed with open arms," said Sara Alterio, who lived in Orlando in 2013.

"I really think what we're trying to do today is really create a space where people can share their emotions, feelings towards the massacre that happened in Orlando," said June Miller, of New Haven.

Hugs, handmade signs, along with white balloons bearing the names of the 49 victims are separated by more than 1,100 miles, but the message of solidarity will not be broken.

"For me personally, it gives me some type of peace, because my emotions are flooding over me and know this whole country is mourning and I really feel this will give some type of peace, for the families, for the victims, just for the whole country to come together," Alterio said.

Follow updates on the Orlando shooting investigation here.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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