Three years later: Odessa community members honor victims of Pulse nightclub shooting

ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) Around 50 Odessa community members held a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

The vigil was hosted by several organizations under the umbrella of Basin Pride to honor the 49 people who lost their lives during the shooting at the gay nightclub on June 12, 2016.

Basin Pride consists of Unitarian Universalist Church of Midland, Out in West Texas, Permian Basin LGBTQ Plus and PFLAG Midland-Odessa.

One event organizer and the president of Out in West Texas, Kerry Manzo, described how he felt when he first heard about the shooting.

“I remember the shock afterwards and just my heart dropping out,” he said.

Community members sat in silence at around 7:30 Wednesday evening as the names of the victims and a short biography were read aloud. A stone was then dropped in a tall vase full of water.

“The water overflows, signifying the tears that we shed for those victims. On the bottom all those stones are together in unity. Which, we all love each other so we’re all going to be together,” K’Dance Cruz said.

One event attendee, Roslyn Ross, said she was working on a script when she heard about the shooting.

“Tonight is so very special because of the tragedy that has happened, that we have to come together for something like this. It’s very sad. It’s very sad,” she said.

Manzo said it’s important to create community for every stage of life.

“It’s good to know that you have people to share your grief with, and share your happiness with, and people to come together with, to remember those that we’ve lost,” he said.