Iowans Mourn Orlando Victims

Jun 15, 2016

Hundreds of central Iowans held a vigil in downtown Des Moines to mourn the lost lives in the Orlando mass killings. They came in support of the LGBT and Hispanic communities, and to call for tougher gun laws.

Hundreds gather in the sculpture park in downtown Des Moines to remember those killed in an Orlando nightclub.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

One Iowa, the state’s largest advocate for LGBT rights, organized the gathering in the sculpture park downtown. 

Politicians, civil rights leaders and local clergy paraded to the mic to call for an end to what they called senseless violence in America.

Deanna Edwards of Des Moines had family reasons for being in the crowd.

“I have a son who is gay and so it hits close to home," she says. "It could have been my child.”

Des Moines resident Tony Khuth used to live in Orlando. He says he went to Pulse, the nightclub where the shooting occurred,  almost every night and knew one of the victims.

"I never thought that a place that I went to would be a place that something like this could happen," he says. "I just wish there were more strict gun laws."

Many at the vigil to mourn the lost lives in Orlando expressed support for the LGBT community.
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Edwards says she feels a mix of emotions in the wake of the Orlando shootings. She’s sad, angry and scared, and says assault rifles should be outlawed because there only purpose is to kill.