What was supposed to be a night of fun with friends and loved ones at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, turned into a night of terror.
Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., walked into the nightclub around closing time early Sunday morning—opening fire and holding club goers hostage.
Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53, authorities said.
Mateen was eventually killed during a confrontation with SWAT officers.
The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.
New Yorkers expressed their deepest sympathies for the victims and their families and friends on Monday, June 13.
Moses, 39, of New York City
“Obviously it’s sad,” Moses said. “We don’t like to see these common occurrences … it’s hard to get to the bottom of the issues, whether it’s guns or if it’s a psychological issue, or a social issue. But my heart goes out to the families, and hopefully we can work together as a society, instead of tearing each other apart, hopefully this brings us together.”
When asked if he will be more cautious when stepping out now, he said, “Not at all.”
“I don’t let things like that get to me. You have to move on, you have to live life, anything can happen. You can fall in your bathtub, you can end up like the unfortunate ones in the club. You can’t let situations like that bring you down.”
However, he is much more concerned today than he was yesterday, he said.
Johnny, 29, of Brooklyn, New York
Johnny said he feels “really sorry” for the victims’ families.
“It’s really sad that this guy went crazy and killed people because of different beliefs,” Johnny said.
But what happened in Orlando doesn’t make him more wary, he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care, Johnny stresses. He is simply not afraid, but hopes that these terrorist attacks stop.
“I hope it doesn’t happen here … I hope it doesn’t anywhere. We just have to be careful wherever we go,” he said.
Eric Joyner of New York City
“For the lost loved ones, I wish them all the best,” Joyner said. “God bless their families. Hopefully justice will be served.”
Joyner said he doesn’t think Mateen was the only person behind Sunday’s attack at the gay nightclub.
“I don’t think it is just him that was involved, there are more parties besides just him. I hope they all get apprehended,” he said.
Unlike Moses and Johnny, Joyner is very wary when leaving his house, saying there’s not a day goes by that he isn’t cautious.
“You have to be a little cautious, and extra cautious with every move that we make,” he said, adding that he uses faith to help him overcome fear.
Everad Black, 57, of Trinidad and Tobago
“I was really shocked,” Black said repeatedly.
Black worked in Miami a few years ago and also has a brother who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Black said he feels sorry for the families.
“I don’t know why there is so much hatred,” he said.
“I wish everybody, all the gays, lesbians, I wish them the best. And keep on fighting. This is not the end, this is only the beginning. I am standing with them 100 percent.”
Elva Stanley,60, and Deborah, 64 of New York City
“I just want their families to be strong and pray; pray we can find a way to stop this madness,” Stanley said.
“I think they should pray very hard and ask God to give them strength, peace, and healing, ” Deborah said. “We have to attack ISIS.”
Stanley said she is not afraid because her faith is strong.
“New York is the best place to be, they tried us once, and they didn’t bring us down. No one will bring us down again,” Stanley said referencing the 9/11 attack.
Stephen Petronio, 60, of New York City
Petronio said the attack was heartbreaking and he deeply sympathizes with the victims’ families.
“I just can’t imagine the horrendous pain that you are going through in the 21st century and such basic rights are being trampled on by stupid, mindless people.
“I’m just sending all of my heartfelt love and support,” he said.
Petronio is not letting yesterday’s incident affect his life.
“I am not going to be cowering for one idiot somewhere. When your time comes, your time comes. Freedom means the freedom to step outside, and not the freedom to hide in your house,” he said.
“I have been listening to the news, and watching the reactions to the community there, and they seem really strong,” he said. “That’s really great to see.”