ROANOKE, Va. – At least five people were killed and 25 others were injured in a deadly mass shooting at a gay club in Colorado Springs, Colorado early Sunday morning. The suspected gunman is now facing hate crime charges.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Southwest Virginia are speaking out about the tragedy, including Roanoke City Councilman Joe Cobb, who is openly gay.
“The motivation behind this was to do harm to people because of their gender identity and sexual orientation,” said Cobb. “That’s the tragedy of it. People who are simply seeking to live their lives, enjoy their lives, find meaning in community, and these places that are designed to be safe gathering places for the LGBTQ community are compromised because of acts like this.”
The Roanoke Diversity Center shared a statement on Facebook that read, “Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims, their families and everyone that went through this senseless shooting.” It also included a link for donations, which you can see below.
Sunday also marked Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
Violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t necessarily uncommon in Roanoke. Back in September of 2000, one person was killed and six others injured in a deadly shooting at a gay bar called Backstreet Cafe. The man who was responsible for that incident died earlier this year.
“Even with the progress that we’ve made, we’ve seen this, the fear that people still continue to live in,” said Cobb.
He said fear still lingers to this day.
“These kinds of incidents make it harder for people in the LGBTQ community to feel as though they’re safe wherever they live,” said Cobb.
Tim Kaine also addressed the incident on Twitter. You can read more here.