Abilene LGBT community reacts to Orlando shooting


ABILENE, Texas - Sunday's news of the Orlando nightclub shooting shocked the country, but it hit the LGBT community especially hard.

Watching television coverage of the shooting with her wife as they got ready for church that morning brought Margaret Warn-Walker to tears.

"We just stood and held each other and cried," said Warn-Walker, senior pastor at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church in Abilene. "There's not words to describe what kind of a reaction you have to that."

Warn-Walker admitted that the LGBT-targeted shooting did bring back some fear.

"We thought the time was over when we had to look over our shoulders all the time, because in the past you had to be very careful," Warn-Walker said.

Warn-Walker said they prayed about it in church that morning and at a vigil in downtown Abilene that night. Warn-Walker said they were supported by other churches and allies at the vigil.

"A lot of us are very emotional for the most part, maybe angry," said Jason Hernandez, with Abilene PRIDE.

After those two services Warn-Walker said they knew their community would not live in fear.

She said the people of Abilene have a lot to do with that.

"They practice what they believe, which Christ said, you love one another and that love is not dependent on anything else," Warn-Walker said. "They might not agree with our theology, but they respect us as human beings, and they treat us with love, and I think that's a difference in Abilene that is not found in most of the United States."

Another vigil is scheduled for this weekend.

It'll be held at the Exodus Metropolitan Community Church at 1933 South 27th Street.

The memorial vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday and will honor each of those 49 victims killed in Sunday's shooting.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off