Tuesday 6 December 2016

50,000 at candlelight vigil for victims of Orlando nightclub massacre

Published 20/06/2016 | 03:26

Thousands attend a nightclub shooting vigil by Lake Eola in Orlando (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/AP)
Thousands attend a nightclub shooting vigil by Lake Eola in Orlando (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/AP)

Tens of thousands of people have held up candles around a lake in the heart of central Orlando as the names were recited of each of the victims who died in the Pulse nightclub massacre.

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People chanted "We remember them!" after the names were recited at Lake Eola Park.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 injured during the gay nightclub massacre a week ago. The gunman, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout after police stormed the club.

The candles held by participants created a ring of fire around the lake, and o rganisers estimated that as many as 50,000 people attended.

Meanwhile attorney general Loretta Lynch said the FBI will release a partial transcript of conversations between Mateen when he was in the nightclub and Orlando police negotiators.

Ms Lynch said the main goal while intensifying pressure on Islamic State - the extremist group thought to have inspired Mateen - is to build a complete profile of him to help prevent any similar massacres.

"As you can see from this investigation, we are going back and learning everything we can about this killer, about his contacts, people who may have known him or seen him. And we're trying to build that profile so that we can move forward," Ms Lynch said.

She said she will travel to Orlando on Tuesday to meet investigators.

They are still interviewing witnesses and looking to learn more about Mateen and others who knew him well, including members of his mosque.

Ms Lynch said another key goal of the investigation is to determine why Mateen targeted the gay community. The victims were predominantly gay and Hispanic as it was "Latin night" at Pulse.

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