President Barack Obama has condemned the tragic shooting at a Florida nightclub that left 50 dead and more than 50 injured as an “act of terror and hate” and although the LGBTI community were targeted, the shooting is “an attack on all of us.”
“This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends, our fellow Americans, who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” he said.
“The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance, to sing and to live.
“The place where they were attacked is more than just a nightclub, it is a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights.
“This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.”
President Obama said the FBI are investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism, but the reasons for gunman’s Omar Saddiqui Mateen decision to open up a fire at Pulse are yet to be determined.
“Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate. As Americans we are united in grief and outrage and in resolve to defend our people,” he said.
“No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”
In a separate statement President Obama ordered flags at all public facilities in the country to be flown at half staff to honour the victims of the attack.