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In the wake of a mass shooting that killed at least 50 people at a gay club in Orlando, Utahns condemned the horrific crime and offered their support to the victims and their loved ones.
Equality Utah, an LGBT advocacy group, has scheduled a candlelight vigil to begin at 7 p.m. Monday at Salt Lake City Hall, 451 S. State. The event will be held on the east steps and candles will be provided.
"This is a moment for our community to come together," said Troy Williams, the organization's executive director. "We don't want to be intimidated by fear; we want to stand in strength and solidarity and love. This is the action of one madman and makes no commentary on America as a whole or the Muslim community."
Law enforcement officials have said shooter Omar Mateen, who died in a gun battle with SWAT team members, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a 911 call around the time of the attack, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Gary Herbert said in a tweet that he has ordered all flags in Utah to be flown at half staff until sunset on Thursday "to honor the victims of this act of terror."
The governor also said in a news release that "as Utahns, we must unite together with those from around the world in love and prayer for our brothers and sisters who are the victims of this terrible tragedy."
Imam Muhammed Mehtar, of the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City, said the shooting was outrageous.
"It doesn't represent our faith, it doesn't represent any faith, it doesn't represent humanity," he said.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes who released a statement calling the shooting "a monstrous act that we denounce in every respect" cautioned against displacing blame on peaceful and law-abiding Muslim members of the community.
"With one voice, we must loudly decry violence and hatred toward fellow human beings of any race, religion or sexual orientation," Reyes said.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who is gay, said in a written statement she views the shooting as an attack on all people who identify as LGBTQ.
"As a mayor charged with keeping a city safe, I can't help but feel we are failing to address a societal ill, one where a person can senselessly kill so many with nothing more than a motive and a gun and that we fail to learn lessons from these repeated tragedies," she said.
Utah House Democratic leader Brian King also called for an increased focus on preventing such murders.
"Not one more life should be lost due to any lack of understanding about how to deal with mass killings in America," he said in a statement. "As a state and country we need to provide the resources to make progress on getting the answers to questions about how to reduce the number of mass killings and the lethality of those events."
Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that "we can't allow this to become the new normal."
"This attack serves as a reminder that Islamic terrorism is a threat to every community in America. We know Islamic terrorists target Christians, the LGBT community, women and a variety of other groups," Stewart said. "They are nothing but evil and they must be stopped."
He added, "I hope you will join me in not only sending our thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by today's terrible events, but also join me in seeking ways to bolster our security at home and abroad."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sen. Orrin Hatch and other members of Utah's congressional delegation also issued statements offering prayers for the victims and their families and friends.
"Our prayers and support are also with community leaders and law enforcement officials as they continue to investigate this shocking crime," the church added.
Rep. Mia Love noted, "This is a case of domestic terrorism, with ties to ISIS. This is a significant tragedy."
And Rep. Jason Chaffetz tweeted, "The depraved terrorist attack is deeply disturbing. May we unite to mourn with those whose lives are forever altered by this cowardly act."
James Rogers, Salt Lake City Council chairman, said in a statement that violence aimed at a specific community makes everyone a target of hatred.
"We cannot and will not let this tragic incident of senseless aggression drive us to cower in a corner when it comes to living our lives peacefully and free of persecution," he said.
Reporter Thomas Burr contributed to this story.