Greenville LGBTQ members reflect on Colorado shooting during vigil

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Emotions were high Monday night on East Carolina University’s campus as people mourned those who lost their lives in Saturday’s LGBTQ nightclub attack.

Five people were killed, and 25 others injured at Club Q in Colorado Springs after authorities say a gunman used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon.

The tragedy has left LGBTQ community members like ECU psychology professor Faye Knickerbocker, feeling that there’s a target on the group.

“It is really difficult, I feel like because we’ve been more in the spotlight and more accepted in areas of society,” Knickerbocker said. “There has been a larger reaction to us since we’re more visible and I hope that as we become more visible that people can see we’re just regular normal people like them.”

The deadly attack has also raised concerns surrounding the topic of hate crimes.

According to federal data, crimes based on sexual orientation represent 16.7 percent of hate crimes, which is why ECU student Gary Li believes it’s important to stay strong.

“It takes a lot of will and resiliency to speak for tonight and what has happened during this tragedy,” Li said. “But it is imperative that we must be represented and stay resilient during this time.”

With the shooting happening just days before Thanksgiving, LGBTQ member Cullman Temple said people should be grateful because those victims’ families won’t get to enjoy the holiday with them.

“Even though our minds are packing and getting ready to leave the campus to go home to friends and family for the holidays,” Temple said. “We have to remember there will be some families who’ll have empty chairs at the table.”