CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A vigil organized by Christians, Jews and Muslims at Cleveland City Hall to remember the 49 killed in Christchurch, New Zealand was interrupted Friday by a President Donald Trump supporter driving a “BUILD THE WALL” float.
Mourners looked on in disbelief as the float rolled past the memorial blaring music. The driver, Robert Cortis of Michigan, then made a second pass and played “God Bless America.”
Cortis told Cleveland 19 he was leaving the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and happened to drive by city hall as the memorial was being held.
Speakers, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, stayed on script and focused on the tragedy instead of the disruption.
49 killed during Friday prayers
Mike Bush, New Zealand’s police commissioner, reported that 41 people were killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, and that another victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.
A 28-year-old man, who reportedly wrote a manifesto filled with extremist propaganda prior to the shooting, was arrested and charged with murder.
Two others are also in custody.
In response to the massacre, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledged that “our gun laws will change” at a news conference Saturday morning (New Zealand local time).
President Donald Trump posted tweets of support toward New Zealand on Friday, but the statements have come under criticism for not mentioning Muslims.
In related news, the resolution disapproving Trump’s emergency declaration -- which passed the House and the Senate -- was vetoed by the President on Friday afternoon.
The resolution will return to the House, but the chamber will likely not be able to generate the two-thirds majority vote that is needed to override the veto.
If Trump’s emergency declaration goes through, it’s reported he’ll appropriate around $8 billion to build barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.