Orlando's first openly-gay commissioner "heartbroken" by massacre

Orlando commissioner: "This is the largest cr... 05:17

Patty Sheehan, Orlando's first openly-gay commissioner, is heartbroken over the mass shooting this weekend in which an armed man entered a popular gay club in her city and opened fire. Fifty people are dead, with dozens more wounded, in what was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

It is also the largest crime scene that's ever had to be processed in Orlando, Sheehan told "CBS This Morning."

"This is just a horrible day for our city and for these families that are still suffering," Sheehan said. "We have identified everyone, but not all of the notifications have been made; some of the folks are out of state."

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She said she had heard that the gunman, Omar Mateen, hates the gay community and had visited the club previously, possibly casing it in preparation for his attack.

"Why? Why? We're just good people," Sheehan said. "These are young people out trying to have a good time. When I was their age, I was out at this club and others in the city. I just don't understand how anyone could do this to my community.

"I didn't know a lot of them personally 'cause they're younger than me, but they're members of my community and I feel just heartbroken over this."

Sheehan also said that while "a lot of gay clubs can be kind of seedy," the nightclub where the attack took place, Pulse, is "a great club, a really nice club ... Barbara [Poma], the owner of this club, wanted to make it very nice 'cause it was in honor of her brother, who passed of AIDS. I have been there many times; I've had political fundraisers, we've had community actions there. They're very supportive of the LGBT community.

"It's just heartbreaking that someone picked this club in the heart of our community to do this."

Sheehan also spoke about remarks made by some lawmakers in wake of the massacre.

"Something that bothers me is, I've heard a lot of politicians talking that did not support hate crimes legislation, that have not supported my community," she said. "If they want to have a change of heart, I encourage that, because if this isn't an example of how my community is victimized and hated and harmed, nothing will change their heart if this doesn't."

Sheehan says she has been touched by news of vigils held across the U.S. and around the world in honor of the victims, but said now was not the time for vigils in Orlando.

"We do not need the law enforcement resources spread any thinner," she said. "We need people here to just go to their churches, go to their places of worship, do what need to do to take care of themselves. Hold off on vigils in Orlando, because right now there are still hundreds of officers [at the crime scene].

"This is not the time for vigils. But give blood. Give money to proper organizations that you know are good organizations. Do what you need to do. But we'll hold off on vigils; we'll have something later on."

She promised any remembrance will be an homage to the victims, "these young people cut down by a madman, a terrorist, at the best times of their life."

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.