As the world stands aghast over the latest mass shooting in the United States in which at least 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed, LGBT groups were among those to condemn the atrocity.
Janson Wu, executive director of the New England-based GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said his organization is “saddened and horrified by the shooting today at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.”
“Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones, those who were hurt by this violence and to all those in our Jewish communities who are reeling from this news,” Wu said. “We denounce hate in all its forms, and condemn the anti-Semitism that motived this incident.”
Wu added “our collective responsibility” is “to do the work of mending our world” in the wake the latest mass shooting, calling for measures aimed at ending gun violence.
“That work includes both fighting to end gun violence and striving to create a culture where the hateful rhetoric and action that occurred today at Tree of Life — and has become far too prevalent in our country — is both unacceptable and unheard of,” Wu said.
According to Associated Press, 11 people were killed Saturday when police say a man opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony at a synagogue in Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Six people were injured, including four police officers, the AP reported.
The suspect has been identified, is in custody and was taken to a hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds, according to the AP. An assault rifle and three handguns were used in the shooting, the AP reported. (The Washington Blade has decided not to disclose the identity of the alleged shooter.)
About to Air Force One en route to an event in Indianapolis, President Trump told reporters he was monitoring events in Pittsburgh and added “something had to be done,” but declined to endorse stricter gun laws.
“This has little to do with it if you take a look,” Trump said.
Trump added the presence of an armed guard at synagogue might have prevented the situation.
“If they had protection inside the results would have been far better,” Trump said. “Maybe it could have been a very much different situation.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the shooting was “a horrific attack on the Jewish community that has been motivated by anti-Semitism.”
Counting the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years in the United States, including the 2016 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Griffin said Congress has failed to act despite calls for action.
“In the face of these mounting tragedies, many of our lawmakers have refused to act on meaningful gun safety legislation,” Griffin said. “And it is no surprise how these tragedies so often intersect with vile hatred, this time against the Jewish community.”
Griffin also called for action from Congress and the White House in response to growing number of mass shootings in the United States.
“It’s time for Congress and the White House to act,” Griffin said. “We need leadership now, not more victim-blaming and divisive rhetoric that could result in more senseless deaths. We must continue to demand action until our lawmakers either hear us — or we have new lawmakers.”
Richard Cohen, president of the pro-LGBT Southern Poverty Law Center, also denounced the shooting as “another horrific act of hate at a house of worship.”
“It reminds us of the slaughter of nine African American worshipers at Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church in 2015, the killings of six Sikh worshipers at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., in 2014 and, of course, the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 that left four young African American girls dead,” Cohen added. “The violence in Pittsburgh follows on the heels of a string of attempted pipe bombings by a white supremacist who targeted frequent critics of President Trump. Our hearts go out to the families of the most shootings.”
This article first appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.