Thousands Attend Vigil for Orlando Shooting Victims

Hemera/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Thousands gathered in downtown Orlando tonight for the city’s first official vigil since Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub, which killed and wounded dozens.

People mourned the victims at the plaza at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts by laying flowers, waving rainbow flags, lighting candles and shedding tears. The Orlando Gay Chorus performed shortly after the event commenced at 7 p.m.

"I wasn't expecting as many people. I'm still kind of in shock a little bit," Orlando resident Elizabeth Cortes, 26, told ABC News. "Being here makes it a little more surreal. The turnout is amazing. Like they say, love conquers."

The shooting at Pulse nightclub, which bills itself on its website as "Orlando's Premier Gay Night Club," unfolded over the course of three hours early Sunday morning when Omar Mateen, approached the venue armed with a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a Glock handgun.

After exchanging gunfire with an officer stationed outside the club, he entered and sprayed partygoers with bullets. Mateen called 911 during the rampage and calmly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. He was later killed in a gunbattle with a SWAT team.

Fifty people are dead, including the gunman, and 53 others were injured in the shooting.

During the vigil, Orlando Mayer Buddy Dyer said officials have identified all 49 deceased victims.

"Today, we have identified all 49 victims and we have notified the next of kin of all 49 victims," Dyer said.

Some mourners held signs calling for peace and love, while others carried photos of victims who were their friends and family members.

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Celebrities, politicians post tributes to comedian, activist Dick Gregory

Celebrities, politicians post tributes to comedian, activist Dick GregoryBrent N. Clarke/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The death of comedian and activist Dick Gregory at age 84 on Saturday prompted a flood of tributes on Twitter from celebrities, activists and others.

Jane Sanders recalled how her husband -- Bernie Sanders, Democratic senator from Vermont and former presidential candidate -- once spent a night in jail with Gregory after protesting segregation in Chicago.

RIP Dick Gregory, a good & brave man. He & @SenSanders spent the night in jail together for protesting Chicago segregated schools in the 60s https://t.co/pYpMU34eOx

— Jane O'Meara Sanders (@janeosanders) August 20, 2017

Democratic National Committee vice chairman Keith Ellison posted a photo of himself with Gregory. "Thank you for giving yourself to all of us," he wrote.

Dick Gregory, may God Bless you and Keep you. Thank you for giving yourself to all of us. pic.twitter.com/Z1dLIvYuBn

— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) August 20, 2017

Activist and writer Shaun King posted pictures of Gregory as a young man. "Rest in power, good sir," King wrote.

Because many of you probably only knew Dick Gregory as an older man, I wanted to show you these young images.

Rest in power good sir. pic.twitter.com/ZayInokcaJ

— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 20, 2017

Singer John Legend called Gregory a "groundbreaker in comedy and a voice for justice."

Dick Gregory lived an amazing, revolutionary life. A groundbreaker in comedy and a voice for justice. RIP

— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 20, 2017

Some people posted excerpts from Gregory's memoir, "Callous on My Soul," such as when he wrote about a waitress in the South telling him that they "don't serve colored people."

White lady: We don't serve colored people here.

Dick Gregory: I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.

RIP Mr. Gregory😰 pic.twitter.com/t8dnuRJhBC

— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 20, 2017

Here is a sample of some other tweets paying tribute to Gregory and lamenting his passing.

Comedian Dick Gregory always told it like it is. Our laughter was fuel to fight for justice in an unjust world. RIP 1932-2017 pic.twitter.com/wpbdEkvny1

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 20, 2017

Marching w/ King. Sitting w/ Ali. Paving the way for our comedic greats. All while fighting for us.

Rest well Dick Gregory. #blkcreatives pic.twitter.com/GsfRTjHSuy

— #blkcreatives netwrk (@blkcreatives) August 20, 2017

He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight.He taught us how to live.Dick Gregory was committed to justice.I miss him already. #RIP pic.twitter.com/3CfpM2O17D

— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) August 20, 2017

Rest In Peace to civil rights icon Dick Gregory. An inspiration. A hero. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/kIzeYMNjor

— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) August 20, 2017


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