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The Journal Gazette

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Daniel Riecke, 13, sings along to “Our God” during an Associated Churches interfaith prayer vigil Wednesday at Headwaters Park in response to Sunday’s massacre in Orlando, Fla. Riecke attended the vigil with his family, at left.

Thursday, June 16, 2016 11:41 am

Victims of tragedy 'were all loved'

Jeff Wiehe | The Journal Gazette

Days later, Matt Reibs still tears up watching the YouTube videos. 

The videos from people who were in the club when the gunshots began going off; testimonials from people who lost loved ones in America’s worst shooting massacre; story after story of fear, death and heartbreak, raw and uncensored and streaming for the entire world to see. 

It’s that emotion that spurred Reibs to visit vigils honoring the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting in the past few days, including an interfaith one organized by Associated Churches at Headwaters Park on Wednesday. 

"They were all loved and children of God," said Reibs, speaking of the victims gunned down while doing nothing more than enjoying an evening at the popular Florida nightclub.

"They didn’t deserve this."

Dozens came to Headwaters Park despite the rain and threat of storms. There was singing and embracing, prayer and moments of silence in remembrance of the 49 who died at the hands of a man who later died in a shootout with police.

"It’s an opportunity to come together as a community to just witness," said Roger Reece, executive pastor of Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County. "In the face of a tragedy, we want to lift up the community of Orlando and our own community."

Later in the evening at Swinney Park, people were also expected to gather for a candlelight vigil organized by IPFW.

"We want to show the city of Orlando and all of the survivors of the mass shooting on June 12 that the people of Fort Wayne support them," said Rachel Rayburn, assistant professor of public policy and vigil organizer, in a statement. "This is our opportunity to stand against the hatred and discrimination that affects the LGBTQ community."