CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Locals from the LGBT community are speaking out on the impact the Orlando shooting is having here in Charleston.
They're uniting with the community to show their support for the victims in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The shooting happened a few hundred miles away at a gay night club in Orlando, but no matter the distance it's hitting close to home.
Daniel Brinker is the owner of two gay bars in Charleston, Dudley's on Ann & The Cure. He's also the Vice President of Charleston Pride an organization to promote unity and visibility of the LGBT community through community events.
"It was scary for sure," Brinker said. "Initially I was at our nightclub last night at 2 o' clock when it happened so it definitely makes you worried to go to work tonight."
Brinker says he doesn't want people to live in fear.
"Yes it's frightening, you still have to stay open, you still have to be a place for the LGBT community to come together now more than ever just to mourn together and hopefully go stronger out of this," Brinker said.
Manager at Dudley's on Ann, Brandon Patton, says the bar in Orlando is a familiar place.
"It was shocking I definitely had to take a step back, I had been to the club before," Patton said.
The Charleston Police Department has offered to do security training for the entire staff of both local gay bars. It also plans to have a larger police presence outside.
"It should be a safe haven and it's kind of like hate snuck into what's supposed to be a safe place," Brinker said.
Brandon says the two bars are vital in the community.
"A lot of us go through the same trials and stuff like that and we have people here, it's a support system as well," Patton said.
They both say that one way people can show they're support is by donating blood. The donations are needed to aid the wounded.
Officials report at least 50 people were shot and killed and more than 50 people were injured.
"Just like the events that happened last year as well it brings a lot of people together," Patton said. "I feel like at the end of this the LGBTQ community is going to be pulled together even more."
Charleston Pride is hosting a vigil at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Charleston Visitors Center under the bus shed. Local officials are expected to attend.