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Great Falls vigil honors victims of Orlando shooting - KRTV.com | Great Falls, Montana

Great Falls vigil honors victims of Orlando shooting

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Dozens of people gathered at the federal courthouse in Great Falls on Sunday evening for a vigil to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting. Dozens of people gathered at the federal courthouse in Great Falls on Sunday evening for a vigil to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting.
Vigil in Bozeman for victims of the Orlando shooting (MTN News photo) Vigil in Bozeman for victims of the Orlando shooting (MTN News photo)
GREAT FALLS -

Dozens of people gathered at the federal courthouse in Great Falls on Sunday evening for a vigil to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting.

At least 50 people were killed in the shooting at the gay nightclub, and more than 50 were injured.

Participants in the Great Falls vigil held candles, prayed, sang, and encouraged each other to spread love rather than hate.     

The Orlando shooting hits close to home in Great Falls, as the city prepares to host this year's Big Sky Pride celebration later this week.

Susan Otey says that some attending the celebration may feel wary after the tragic event in Florida, but believes others will attend as a sign that they won't give in to fear.

Otey said one of the reasons is to send a message: "To say we are a community, and you can not put us back in a closet, and you can not pretend to ignore us, and you can not tell us we are less than.

Similar vigils were held in other Montana towns, including Helena, Bozeman, Butte, Billings, Kalispell, and Missoula.

Montana governor Steve Bullock (D) released the following information on Sunday afternoon:

As requested by the President of the United States, I hereby order all flags flown in the State of Montana to be displayed at half-staff on Sunday, June 12th, 2016 until sunset on Thursday, June 16th, 2016, out of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror perpetrated in Orlando, Florida on June 12th, 2016.

Bullock also posted on Facebook: "Horrifying and senseless news out of Florida today. Montana's heart is heavy. May this unite, not further divide, our country."

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) released the following statement: "Sharla and I join the millions of Americans who are grieving after the loss of innocent life.  We must come together to put an end to this terrorism, intolerance, and senseless violence that is attempting to steal our freedom."

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) released the following statement: "My deepest condolences are with the victims and families of this appalling attack. I'm grateful for our law enforcement officials and first responders who put their lives on the line to save others. The senseless hate of ISIS and radical Islam will not defeat, but rather strengthen our resolve and commitment to freedom."

U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) released a statement that read, in part: "Today's terrorist attack in Orlando is a tragic reminder that it only takes one individual to carry out a terrorist attack and kill dozens of innocent civilians. The victims, their loved ones, the law enforcement, and the medical professionals working diligently to save lives remain in my and Lola's prayers. And if you're in the Central Florida area, blood donors are greatly needed."

Click here for more information about the shooting.

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