As tragic stories continue to emerge of those who were killed or injured in the mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, we mourn their loss, express our heartfelt condolences and condemn the hatred behind the terrible act.
Authorities have charged a shooter with five first-degree murder counts and five counts of bias-motivated crime in connection with the shooting, which left five dead and at least 19 injured.
For many in the UF community and across Florida, the shooting renews the traumatic and painful memories of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and 53 wounded by a hate-motivated killer. Then, as now, we express our love for and solidarity with members of UF’s LGBTQ+ community and their loved ones and supporters. No one should be targeted for hatred or violence, or be exposed to such hatred or violence, because of their sexuality, race, religion or any other characteristics.
With the tragic stories are emerging heroic accounts of those who stopped the killer, led by an Army veteran and father, who charged the suspect and disarmed him, and assisted by a drag performer and other patrons who helped subdue him, according to news accounts.
May their shared actions, credited by law enforcement authorities with saving many lives, serve as examples for all of us in standing up together to counter hatred and violence — and caring for all individuals regardless of our human differences.