Orlando massacre hits home

A candlelight vigil has been organized by Bethania Lutheran Church Pastor Chris Brown and community member Candice Villard for the victims of the Pulse Night Club massacre in Orlando, Florida for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 at Solvang Park. It is recommended to bring your own candles.

Santa Ynez Valley native Daniel Lahr recalls being at Pulse night club in Orlando some years ago for helping his friends photography shoot and said this act of violence is a hard slap in the face and that there are many who want to kill Americans everyday because of what our country stands for.

“When I was working at Disney World, I was helping a friend with their photo shoot at Pulse. I’m probably one of the very few straight Republican males to ever go to Pulse, but any violent attack on anyone or group because of their faith, gender, sexual orientation, politics is a cowardly and disgusting act. It is not who we are as a nation or just civilized human beings,” Lahr said.

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SYV Native Daniel Lahr (center) at Pulse night club working on a photo shoot several years ago.

The attack happened just after 2 a.m. Sunday and claimed the lives of 50 people, and an additional 53 people were injured at the club according to officials in Orlando. It ended after several hours when authorities stormed the building and killed the shooter identified as Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an American citizen however he pledged allegiance to the radical Islamic terror group known as ISIS in a phone call to 911 just before the attack, according to several news outlets such as Fox News.

Lahr said he couldn’t have imagined what those people must have gone through, and recalls seeing tweets from people in the bathroom and remembered Pulse having a two-way mirror so those in there must have seen the gunman and tried to hide.

“I really hope that you will be ok in the time ahead because I can only imagine how something like this will affect you, your friends and community. Thinking of all my friends back there,” Lahr added.

 

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