As the Philadelphia Pride Parade marched through the Gayborhood and Old City Sunday, local gay clubs were offering their condolences to the Orlando club that was targeted in a shooting spree just hours earlier.
“The hearts of the staff, management and owners of Woody’s along with Philly’s LGBTQ community are heavy this morning,” Woody’s wrote on their Facebook page.“Our prayers and thoughts go out to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Orlando Florida.Love will always prevail.”
Voyeur Nightclub echoed that statement, writing ” We join our LGBTQ family at Woody’s in praying for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Orlando Florida today.”
Philadelphia director of LGBT affairs Nelli Fitzpatrick wrote on Facebook that police were increasing their presence at the Pride parade, but had no reports of any threats of similar violence.
“They have no reason to believe that there are any similar threats for today’sPhilly Prideevents,” Fitzpatrick wrote in the post (see full statement below). “However, PPD will be taking all necessary precautions for today’s parade and festival to ensure a safe event for everyone.”
Local leader issued statements on the mass shooting, while some at the parade carried signs paying tribute to the massacre.
“From the city of brotherly love, our hearts go out to Orlando and all members of the LGBTQ community today,” Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted.
A vigil for the victims is planned outsidePhilly City Hall for 6:30 p.m. Monday night.
Pa. state rep Brian Sims urged people in the Orlando area to donate blood, as gay men are banned from donating blood by law.
— Janaki Chadha (@JanakiChadha) June 12, 2016
From the city of brotherly love, our hearts go out to Orlando and all members of the LGBTQ community today.
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) June 12, 2016
People in Philadelphia were fearful as news of the attack spread.
“I’m horrified,” said Chichi Lovett, 64, visiting Philly from New York, who said she wasn’t sure if it added to an increased sense of danger. “The terrorism has been going on for a while, against us and the gay community.”
Lovett linked the violence to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “His inflammatory stances are just going to fan the flames of everybody else… The climate has let all the craziness out of the box.”
Others were disturbed but unsurprised by news of the attack.
“I’ve been saying this for a while: the terrorists are already here,” said King Barker, 40, a Fairmount resident, who said he didn’t believe gay people or gay nightclubs should be more fearful than anyone else.
“People in general should be careful. The next step could be anywhere, a restaurant, a Whole Foods,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from police or nightclub owners as to whether they clubs will get security in the wake of the attack on Pulse.
Law enforcementhave identified OmarMateenas the shooterwho killed 50 and wounded atleast 50 more in the attack, described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. His possible ties to the Islamic State are being probed.