Hundreds gather in Florida church for Orlando shootings vigil

Florida's Gov Rick Scott (centre, left) led a minute's silence for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.Iglesia del Calvario/Facebook

Hundreds of mourners including Florida State Governor Rick Scott and Lt Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera packed a church in Orlando last night in vigil for the victims of yesterday's mass shooting.

Omar S Mateen killed 50 people in a packed gay nightclub and wounded 53 others before being killed by police. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the attack was the deadliest single US shooting incident, eclipsing the 32 people killed in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech university.

"Today we're dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable," Dyer said.

Yesterday's vigil began at 6.30pm at the Hispanic Iglesia el Calvario, according to the Miami Herald. The church's Pastor Pastor Gabriel Salguero said the congregation would embrace the hurting families, as well as the gay community, and would continue to pray and try to help in any way they can.

Scott led a minute of silence for the victims in which the house lights were dimmed and congregants lit up their mobile phones in place of candles.

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A vigil also took place at Orlando's Islamic Centre. Imam Azhar Subedar condemned the attack and said: "It's only in America that we continue to successfully thrive as a unit despite our intellectual differences, our faith differences, our cultural differences or our lifestyle purpose. This is the sole reason why the world envies America. And we're not going to allow anyone to break that from us. We're not going to allow anyone to hijack that from us.

"So at this moment the call of the moment is for us all to come together in solidarity and in unity to show what an American family is about."

Mateen declared his loyalty to Islamic State during the attack and the terrorist organisation claimed responsibility for his actions. However, the current thinking among security officials is that the links between him and IS were tenuous or practically non-existent.

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