Columbus residents react to Orlando mass shooting - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus residents react to Orlando mass shooting

Columbus resident react to Orlando shooting. (Source: WTVM) Columbus resident react to Orlando shooting. (Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - News of the tragedy in Orlando has rocked the LGBT community and others in the Chattahoochee Valley.

David Smith, Vice President for Colgay Pride of Columbus, said that, in light of the tragedy, the group will only raise its voice higher, and that they "would not let the terrorists win."

"We will rally around the survivors and mourn the people we've lost, and pray for the families and victims," Smith said. 

Beyond the LGBT community, others in Columbus, like 17-year-old John Toland, said they still can't make sense of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. 

"I was just like, 'Wow,'" Toland said.”First off Paris, and then you have something like this happen in Orlando?"

"You shouldn't have to be worried about going somewhere public worrying that you're going to get shot down," said Baylee Canington, 16. "It's crazy."

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke about the massacre at her annual Prayer Rally for Peace and an End to Violence.

"Could have happened in any city in this country, but violence broke out there," Tomlinson said. "Folks, we have to turn things around. This is not the country we can be," Tomlinson said. 

Despite this latest attack, Smith said he urges everyone - gay and straight - to not give in to fear.

"There are still bad people out there. There's still bad people that want to hurt people who are LGBT," Smith said, ”but that shouldn't stop you from living your life and being yourself."

As part of National Pride Month, COLGAY Pride celebrated with its own Pride Fest earlier this month.

National Pride Month started after the Manhattan riots that sparked the Gay Liberation Movement.

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