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Orlando Shooting Worst Apparent Anti-LGBT Terror Attack, But Not First

  • VOA News

Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the LGBT Center of Central Florida, left, Kelvin Cobaris, pastor of The Impact Church, center, and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan console each other after a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., June 12, 2016.

Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the LGBT Center of Central Florida, left, Kelvin Cobaris, pastor of The Impact Church, center, and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan console each other after a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., June 12, 2016.

Pulse Orlando, the Florida club where a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in an attack early Sunday morning, describes itself as the city's premier gay nightclub. While the gunman's motive has not yet been established, the incident, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, was also the worst act of violence apparently targeting members of the LGBT community in the United States.

It was not, however, the only such attack.

On December 31, 2013, Musab Masmari poured gasoline in a stairway of gay nightclub in Seattle, Washington. Some 750 people were inside the club at the time for a New Year's Eve celebration, but the fire was put out and no one was injured. Masmari was sentenced to 10 years in prison for arson.

On September 22, 2000, Ronald Gay opened fire in a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, killing one person and injuring six others. Gay told authorities he was upset over being teased about his last name and was on a mission to make all gay people move to San Francisco, which he said would end AIDS.

On February 21, 1997, Eric Rudolph detonated a nail-bomb at a nightclub in Atlanta, Georgia that had a most gay and lesbian clientele. The blast wounded five people. Rudolph would later be charged for the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta that killed one person and injured 111 others in 1996.

On June 24, 1973, an arson attack on a gay bar in New Orleans killed 32 people. While the most likely suspect was a gay man who had been thrown out of the bar earlier, he was never charged, and the incident received little attention from the authorities and media.

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