UPDATED: Colorado officials react to mass shooting at Orlando nightclub

Author: Ernest Luning - June 12, 2016 - Updated: June 12, 2016

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Colorado officials, candidates and organizations reacted with heartbreak, shock and condemnation to the news Sunday morning that a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens of others in what authorities say is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history:

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver:

“Our hearts are broken upon hearing about the tragic attack upon the LGBT community in Orlando. We in Colorado have dedicated many years towards passing laws which bring more respect and equality to those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

“As a member of the LGBT community, I am deeply saddened at the unjust loss of brothers and sisters in Florida. May they rest in peace, and may their families be comforted, and may we all continue working towards increasing safety, security, and equality for all.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper via Twitter:

“Our hearts are broken over the devastation in Orlando; but the outpouring of love & light is more powerful than any hatred behind it.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock:

“This senseless act of hate against innocent people is a heartbreaking tragedy for the entire nation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, families and all those affected by this horrific act, and we extend our sincere gratitude to the brave first responders who came to the assistance of all of those in need. Tonight, we will stand together in solidarity with the entire community during this difficult time.”

House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel:

“My heart goes out to the victims of this attack, to their families, and to the greater LGBT community. This morning’s attack is a reminder to us all that gun violence in America is a plague that afflicts every state, every city and every community. That this was a targeted and hateful terror attack against the LGBT community only compounds our hurt today. We must all come together, as a nation, to do more to stop the mass gun violence that plagues this country, and stand together against hate and extremism however it manifests itself.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet:

“Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific violence. We are grateful to law enforcement and the first responders who acted with selflessness and bravery. We extend our prayers to the families and the community as they seek strength and healing.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner via Twitter:

“Jaime & I are mourning the lives lost in Orlando & are praying for the wounded. Our hearts ache for the families of the victims. –CG”

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette via Twitter:

I send my prayers to all affected by the tragedy in #Orlando. We must honor places of refuge for #LGBT.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis via Twitter:

“Tragic. Today we stand in unity with the entire #Orlando community.”

“Love, fellowship, and condolences to the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando and their families #lgbt.”

Polis also issued a statement on Sunday:

“The Orlando shooting was a direct attack on equality, diversity, and freedom; it was an act of terror against all Americans. Most tragically it snuffed out dozens of vibrant lives too soon, and darkened countless others. My heartfelt sympathy is with the victims as well as their families, friends, and the city of Orlando.

“My thoughts also remain with the entire LGBT community. Our community today has been the target of hate and terror, and it is tragic that members of the community who want to give blood to help their friends are unjustifiably prevented from doing so despite the need.

“While we mourn those lost, we must continue to be resilient. We, as a community, know that love will always prevail over hate.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton:

“Prayers for the people of Florida, the injured, and the families of those killed. Truly sad and horrific.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ryan Frazier:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of those attacked during this morning’s senseless shooting in Orlando. Colorado stands with you in the aftermath of this terrible terror attack and we share in your grief.

“In the days to come we will learn more about the killer and his distorted motives but today I am even more resolved. America must do everything possible to ensure terrorist attacks in the name of radical Islam never happen again.

“We owe our gratitude to our heroic first responders serving their community in Orlando. I have no doubt that many more innocent Americans would have lost their lives without their quick response.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser:

“Emma and I are heartbroken by the terror attack in Orlando and are praying for the victims and their families at this very difficult and tragic time. America faces serious threats both at home and abroad. We cannot allow evil acts like the one in Orlando to lessen our resolve or to result in anything except unity in confronting our enemies across the world.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha via Twitter:

“Prayers for the families & friends who lost loved ones in this senseless tragedy.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando.”

Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson via Twitter:

“Let us find a way to lift up one another. Hatred and violence are not the answer. Peace and love to #Orlando”

Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio:

“For the LGBTQ community, gay bars offer a place of safety and comfort – we can join with our adopted families and friends to celebrate our diversity and be ourselves. With the senseless murder of more than 50 people, the cowardly act of terror carried out in Orlando disrupted that safety and comfort, but it will not kill the spirit and pride of our LGBTQ family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were killed, as well as their loved ones. Our gratitude is with our allies across the country and with the law enforcement officers and first responders who undoubtedly saved a countless number of lives during last night’s events. As we come together to try to make sense of this tragedy and heal, we are reminded that as Americans, we are stronger when we stand together and that love will always conquer hate.”

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this clear act of terrorism in Orlando. Americans have faced tragedy all too often as a result of an act of terror. We will remember today with great sadness and it is critical we maintain the resolve to end these senseless losses of life.”

One Colorado Executive Director Dave Montez:

“We are shocked and devastated by the horrible shooting that occurred in Orlando last night and our hearts are with the victims and families who have been impacted by this horrific act of violence targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in Orlando.

“June commemorates Pride month and gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place for LGBTQ people and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. We will all continue to work to address the hatred that causes these senseless acts of violence in hopes that something like this never happens again.”

The Denver Islamic Society administration:

“The Denver Islamic Society strongly condemns the heinous terror attack that claimed the lives of tens of innocent people and left many more injured in Orlando, FL.
“The attack took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when all Muslims are expected to boost their faith by fasting, reading the Holy Qur’an, visiting relatives and friends, and giving charity. Our Community feels deeply sorry such a violent act took place instead. We pray for a peaceful world full of love and tolerance.”


SEE ALSO: Florida nightclub attack just the latest U.S. mass shooting 

Obama decries Orlando shooting as ‘an act of terror’

Orlando massacre spurs grief, fear for LGBT Americans

What they’re saying about Florida nightclub mass shooting 

Obama to deliver statement about deadly nightclub shooting

This story will be updated.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.