Los Angeles Pride Continuing With Parade In Face of Orlando Shooting Tragedy
By Desiree Murphy
Los Angeles Pride is continuing their scheduled music festival parade in West Hollywood, California, today, amid the tragic news that 50 were found dead, including the gunman, and 53 injured following a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.
ET spoke to the Los Angeles Police Department, who said they will be on standby for today's L.A. Pride event, which is headlined by Carly Rae Jepsen, and that if the West Hollywood Sheriff needs assistance from the LAPD, there will be units and officers ready to go.
Lt. Edward Ramirez from the West Hollywood Sheriff's Department tells ET that "the Los Angeles County sheriff department is fully prepared to respond to a similar situation should the need exist."
"We have instructed all deputies working the city of WeHo to have in their possession all of their response gear, which includes gear to respond to an active shooter situation," Ramirez explained. "We want to ensure the public that we do have a large law enforcement presence, and we encourage them to come out and enjoy the parade, music, food, and festivities."
"Our emergency operation bureau team takes into consideration such unfortunate events as Orlando, and they are prepared when they are making their operations plans for such large events as this parade," he added.
"We stand in solidarity with our community and grieve for the victims and families affected by this horrific and senseless act of violence," the official Twitter account for L.A. Pride wrote on Sunday. "We will observe a moment of silence today along the entire Parade route at 10:45 am."
During a press conference in West Hollywood Sunday afternoon, an FBI official said there are no known threats to Los Angeles County. West Hollywood Mayor Eric Garcetti added that "we are safe and protected today," and "we continue to love in the face of hate."
Belinda Carlisle, lead vocalist of The Go-Go's, took to Twitter to let fans know she would proudly be in attendance.
"LA pride parade today," she wrote. "Proud To be marching with #PFLAG and especially after #Orlando to show #lovewillprevail."
ET is attending the parade, which begins at 11 a.m. local time. More updates to come.
As previously reported, the shooting in Florida occurred around 2:20 a.m. local time at Pulse nightclub, described as "Orlando's hottest gay bar." The gunman was identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the suspect was found with a handgun and an assault rifle. According to CBS News, Mateen called 911 at the time of his attack in order to pledge his allegiance to ISIS, and he also mentioned the Boston bombers.