Knoxville remembers Orlando nightclub shooting victims

June 12, 2017: One year after 49 people were killed in a nightclub shooting in Orlando, an event in Knoxville will honor the memory of those victims.

KNOXVILLE - Monday marked one year since 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

On June 12, 2016, authorities say 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire in predominantly LGBTQ nightclub. 49 people were killed and 58 others were wounded.

RELATED: Pulse shooting: Remembering the victims one year later

A number of Knoxville area organizations lead a vigil to remember the victims of the shooting on Monday night at Krutch Park.

The program included speeches, live music and a candlelit reading of the names of those who lost their lives. 

Roddy Biggs, one of the organizers of the event, said the news shocked the LGBTQ community last year. 

"We were all broken," Biggs said. "We were all afraid. We were all crying. We didn't know what the future held." 

RELATED: Knoxville churches pray for Orlando at vigil

For this group, the last year has been filled with ups and downs of trying to overcome feelings of worry and fear. 

"Yes, it happened in Orlando, Florida, but who's to say it could have happened at XYZ or it could have happened at the edge?" Biggs said. 

Persephone Webb, another organizer of the event, added, "There's still a lot of fear about going out to bars and to clubs to have a good time." 

To show that the community is not going to live in the shadows, they are continuing to fight for equality and make their voices heard. 

"You should never target people for just being who they are," Webb said. "We're beautiful people." 

While the community has grown stronger together over the past year, organizers said this one year mark also makes them realize how much further they have to go. 

"While it's tragic that it takes something so shocking to build community," Biggs said, "it also takes something just as positive to change communities." 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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