These are our friends. Our family.
Christine Leinonen said she “just happened” to wake up at 3 a.m., about an hour after the shooting started at Pulse Orlando, a gay club. She saw her son Christopher’s friend post on Facebook that there had been a shooting at the club and that he didn’t “know where his friends were.”
Leinonen told ABC News that her son’s friend, Brandon, told her he saw that Christopher’s boyfriend “had multiple gunshots and was being taken by the ambulance but he never saw Christopher [come] out.”
It may be hours before she confirms her son’s status, she said.
“They said there’s a lot of dead bodies in the club and that it’s a crime scene … so it could be hours and hours before we find out. The hospital said there are some bodies at the hospital that came in and they died and they’re not identifiable yet either,” Leinonen told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an emotional on-air interview.
She said she was very “proud” of her son who had been active in the gay community for years. Leinonen said that Christopher established the Gay Straight Alliance at his high school and received a humanitarian award as a result. (From ABC News)
Sadly, dozens of mothers and fathers are missing their children this morning. Many more are sitting in hallways and waiting rooms at hospitals hoping to hear good news.
By now, most of you have heard that the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was attacked. Reports current estimate 50 dead and another 53 wounded.
No one should ever have to face this reality, but it is sadly becoming all too common.
Later this morning, in West Hollywood, a man was arrested on his way to the L.A. Pride Festival with explosives and several firearms. Authorities say they do not believe the two incidents are connected.
Across the country, attacks on our communities (both literal and figurative) have increased exponentially since the Supreme Court ruled that any two adults have a constitutional right to marry.
It goes without saying that the thoughts of everyone here at ColoradoCAL are with the victims and their families. But thoughts are not enough. We have to do more to support each other. We have to get involved.
Unfortunately, though the friends and families of those affected will want to help in any way they can, many members of the LGBT community are still prohibited from donating blood. If any of you are eligible to donate, please do so. Most adults are able to donate every 8 weeks, please consider setting up regular appointments so that they are prepared for events like this that may occur in the future.
The victims and their family are going to be facing extreme financial hardship. Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization is collecting contributions via this GoFundMe page to support the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Please contribute and share this page.
There is little more that we can say at this time. We feel incredible sorrow and indescribable heartache. Today, we mourn together with those who are hurting. Tomorrow, we continue the conversation about how to best keep our communities safe.
Love each other.
The staff and volunteers of the Colorado Center for Alternative Lifestyles