This morning our community, and our nation, experienced a horrific crime. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
We are dealing with a tragedy that we never could have imagined. What happened this morning in our city could have happened in any community in the country. President Barack Obama has provided the support of the federal government, and Governor Rick Scott accepted my request for a state of emergency in the City. This allows us to bring in additional resources to support our efforts.
We are focused on identifying the victims and notifying their families. Law enforcement is working the scene as efficiently and diligently as possible while being respectful to the remains of the deceased. The names of the victims after their next of kin have been notified are being added to cityoforlando.net/victims.
I am proud of how our community has responded to this tragedy. Our dedicated first responders and hospital staff deserve our thanks. Their actions have saved many lives. And today many residents donated blood to help the victims and joined one another to lend support.
We have set up a hotline for family members of the victims: 407.246.4357. Aspire Health has also offered grief counselors through the Zebra Coalition who can be reached at 407.228.1448.
We understand our community is grieving and that vigils are being planned but please hold off on vigils - they represent a serious strain on our limited City and public safety resources, which we need to dedicate to law enforcement and victims.
If you are seeking a location to leave memorial items, please use the green space in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando.
Despite the fact that this crime will have a lasting effect on our city and country, Orlando is a strong community. We will be grieving together in the upcoming days, weeks and months. We need to support each other and love each other. This tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together.
- Buddy Dyer, Mayor