PHOENIX - A massive crowd gathered outside the Phoenix Pride LGBT center in downtown Phoenix Sunday night for a candle light vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
"It's absolutely devastating,” said Ezra West. “These were our brothers and sisters that got hurt and it could have been anyone.”
Organizers estimate around 1,000 people showed up to show solidarity with Orlando and the LGBT community.
Fifty people were killed, and it’s possible that number could rise over the next few days.
“It gets everyone personally in their heart. I can't wrap my head around it,” said Catherine Alonzo from Equality Arizona.
At the vigil, people held raised signs above the crowd; some had words of support for Orlando, others had messages proclaiming love and denouncing hate.
“This could be anywhere,” said James Pennington, the Senior Pastor of First Congregation United church of Christ in Phoenix. “I've been in that bar actually in Orlando so I have some memories of that bar.”
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was one of a list of speakers to take the podium where he told the crowd, “We all stand with Orlando here in Phoenix tonight.”
Many attendees told 12 News about how devastated they were that the attack happened at a gay nightclub, a place that is typically a safe haven for LGBT community members.
“It's a place where people are welcome and go to, to be completely comfortable with who they are,” said Alonzo. “And for it to be so violently targeted is really earth-shattering.”
Leaders and members of the local Muslim community also attended the vigil.
They also spoke about the need for peace and for all people to be treated equally as humans.
“I don't see how anyone can have such an evil heart to commit something so terrible,” said Alia Thompson.
Thompson, who is Muslim American and has a gay brother, wore and American flag scarf on her head as she spoke with people at the event.
Many told 12 News they appreciated the courage it took for her to be there showing support for the LGBT community.
“I have some people that I know are Muslim, so I completely appreciate that she's here, saying that she understands,” said Chris Moreno.
The vigil concluded with a song as people raised their candles and signs to the sky.
“Martin Luther King said that love always wins over hate and I think that's true,” said Pastor Pennington.
If you want to see how you can help, you can go to www.weareorlando.org