A vigil in Fort Worth honoring the victims of the Orlando shooting hit close to home for one local family who lost a family member in Sunday’s attack.
Fort Worth’s mayor and police chief joined the crowd so large, they couldn’t all fir inside the Celebration Community Church Monday night.
With a kiss on the forehead, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald comforted a Fort Worth woman who lost her nephew.
The lives of the 49 victims were remembered by a single candle for each one of them during the solemn vigil. The attendees wanted to show that those in the LGBT community aren't the only ones mourning the loss of life in Orlando.
As the names of the victims were read one by one, members were asked to place their hand over their hearts and tap their heart as each name was read.
“We think it’s important to make people aware that these were not just names on a list,” said Pastor Carol West. “These were real people, and we just wanted to honor them.”
Among those who attended the vigil were Fort Worth residents with connections to those who were killed in the shooting. Fitzgerald called on a code blue community policing member who lost her nephew in the shooting to come to the front of church.
“I am sincerely very sorry for your loss and what your family is going through,” the police chief told the woman, who did not want to be named. “I can tell you that from the Fort Worth Police Department’s standpoint, we are going to do everything we can to assure that we position ourselves against something like that happening here in this community.”
There was an extra visual presence by Fort Worth Police after investigators say a woman wearing a shirt that read “Pride” was threatening people Sunday at the Islamic Center of Tarrant County.
“We will, when time permits, patrol any facility that has to do with the Islamic faith or any LGBT facility within the city limits of Fort Worth,” said Sgt. Mark Povero.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price spoke at the vigil and offered her condolences for victims of, what she called, an act of evil.
“And despite our best intentions and our best inquiries, the fact remains that we must deal with terrorism, racism and gender issues,” the mayor said.
Pastors were from surrounding cities also attended the vigil. The pastors of the Celebration Community Church say they invited local Islamic mosques but did not get a response back.