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Hundreds Gather for Orlando Shooting Vigils in Downtown Austin

Austin’s LGBTQ community held vigils Sunday evening for victims of the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left as many as 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. It’s the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Last night, hundreds marched from the Texas State Capitol, where Austin Mayor Steve Adler addressed the crowd, before marching down Congress to the Warehouse District. 

At the Capitol, Adler called for unity in the face of tragedy.

“It is important to gather together as a community to shine light on these events, to make real clear that Austin Texas is no place for hate,” he said.

Adler joined by several members of the Austin City Council, LGBTQ activists and interfaith leaders. 

The group of hundreds was then escorted by the Austin Police Department as they marched to a gathering outside Oil Can Harry's, a prominent gay bar near Fourth and Colorado streets.  There, Adler characterized the shooting as an example of the need for stricter regulations on weapons like semi-automatic assault rifles like the one used by Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen. 

“It should not be a radical idea to suggest that suspected terrorists on a no-fly list should not be able to buy a gun," Adler said, referring to proposed legislation that the Republican-held Congress has, so far, voted down. Mateen was known to and investigated by the FBI. 

Assistant Chief Frank Dixon also spoke at the gathering, saying Austin and the country is no place for hate. 

"I gotta tell you that when we can come together like this and show this amount of love and support collectively, imagine what we can do on a daily basis," he said.

Dixon also urged Austinites to remain vigilant in the coming days. 

Prior to the events, the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce released the statement below: 

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