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Candlelight Vigils For Orlando Victims Draw Hundreds

People gather on Walnut Street, outside a candlelight vigil inside Below Zero.
People gather on Walnut Street, outside a candlelight vigil inside Below Zero.
People gather on Walnut Street, outside a candlelight vigil inside Below Zero.
Credit Ashley Zilka / WCPO
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People gather on Walnut Street, outside a candlelight vigil inside Below Zero.

Hundreds of people gathered at vigils in Cincinnati Monday to remember the victims of the Orlando mass shooting.  There were multiple events, including on the University of Cincinnati campus in the afternoon, and on Fountain Square Monday evening. 

Chaz Lemming of Covington works at Below Zero, an LGBT bar in Over-the-Rhine.  He wasn't working Monday night, but still showed up on Walnut Street for a vigil.  He was on Facebook early Sunday morning when word of the Orlando shooting first came out.

"I stayed up, probably until 4 or 4:30 on Facebook, seeing what was going on. 

"I have a few friends in Florida and (I) contacted them to make sure they were okay."

They were.

Lemming's partner Kyle Williams says after the shooting they were a little reluctant to go out.  They were afraid about becoming targets. But he says they felt better, Monday night, surrounded by friends.

"Anytime something like this happens, people come together. So I think it's just our way of coming together for everybody. It's family. And for some people it hits close to home," Williams says.

The vigil at Below Zero spilled out into the street, forcing police to divert traffic.

Beth McCarty says she wanted to be around people who could mourn, celebrate, and come together as a community. "It was very needed because it just felt watching it on TV yesterday you felt so disconnected. And then coming down here and seeing so many people that care..."

McCarty says coming together with other people is helping her heal, and feel the power of having a community.

Tony Phillips says it appears the LGBT community was specifically targeted in Orlando.

"It was very reassuring to not only feel like I'm a part of my community, but to see how big it was and how supportive it was. It was packed in there tonight, and from what I understand it was packed out here tonight. And we were all there together. That was a really empowering feeling. I didn't feel so alone anymore."

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