Locals drive to Orlando to comfort club shooting victims
When two Gainesville residents heard of Sunday's shooting in Orlando, they got into the car and drove down to show their support.
"From this we need to unite, and we need to make the voice of love much stronger than the voice of hate, because yesterday what we heard was a voice of hate," said Rev. Catherine Dearlove of Trinity Metropolitan Community Church.
Dearlove and Barb Crabtree left their local church right after services on Sunday to join hundreds for a vigil at Joy Metropolitan Community Church. Barb says it was who she met at that vigil, that touched her. In walked a victim who was wounded earlier that morning in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, just released from the hospital.
"I just put an arm around him and he was shaking like a leaf, he was just trembling, and I couldn't remove my arm I just kept my arm around him through the rest of the service," she said.
That moment was captured in a photo. Then, Barb said, the victim took a moment to speak.
"He took the microphone and shared what it was like to be in there, and in the bathroom with the terrorist. He and his friend were in there together, and they decided what they needed to do was to play dead. They tried to lay completely still to try and avoid being killed," she explained.
At the Pride Community Center in Gainesville, Co-President Terry Fleming says that nightclub is what many consider a safe space for the LGBT community.
"They're places we organize, there places we socialize, and we go there because we feel safe," he said. "That was taken away yesterday, we'll have to be on guard for quite sometime and it will make us fearful. I am certainly looking over my shoulder more since yesterday morning."