The fashion industry on Monday expressed sympathy and outrage over the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., as cities nationwide stepped up security in the wake of what has been called a terrorist attack.
As the Orlando police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies searched for clues to the worst shooting in U.S. history, Target Corp. said Monday that two of its employees were among the 50 people killed. At least 53 others were wounded.
“Like millions of Americans, the Target team is mourning the horrific violence that took place in Orlando over the weekend,” a spokeswoman for the retailer said. She added: “Sadly, we confirmed this morning that two of our team members were tragically killed in the attack. Since that time, we have been in contact with their families to offer our heartfelt condolences and have brought in on-site counseling resources for our team. Yesterday and today, the teams in the victims’ stores gathered to remember their colleagues. To stand together as one team, we are encouraging our team members across the country, including our headquarters location, to gather their teams [Tuesday] morning for a moment of silence.”
According to press reports, other victims worked at Gucci, Calvin Klein and Perfumania.
The fashion world began tweeting and posting on Instagram on Sunday and continued into Monday.
Prabul Gurung tweeted, “Hate and intolerance took its full force in Orlando. Heartbreaking. Prayers are with the victims’ families and all those affected by the shooting,” while Marc Jacobs said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all in Orlando.” Michael Kors tweeted, “Sending love and prayers to #Orlando and all of the friends and families affected by today’s tragedy.”
Many other designers also showed their support on social media, sharing the rainbow colors, including Brian Atwood, Donna Karan, Nicole Miller, Coach’s Stuart Vevers, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger.
The gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, was shot and killed by Orlando police around 5 a.m. Sunday morning after a three-hour standoff.
President Obama in his address on Sunday called the tragedy “an act of terror,” and said of the shooting, “This could have been any of our cities.”
The incident at Orlando had law enforcement in key cities keeping tabs on developments in the investigation.
Police in several major metropolitan cities elected to go to “high alert” in areas where there tends to be large gatherings, such as tourist attractions. They also are increasing patrols and surveillance in areas connected to the LGBT communities.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that the police have not received any “credible threats” against the city or its LGBT institutions. Law enforcement officials have been on high alert since Sunday, and there is an additional police presence in high-traffic areas and certain LGBT locations both in Manhattan and in the outer boroughs. De Blasio said it was clear the incident was about “hatred toward the LGBT community.”
On Monday the NYPD was still “closely monitoring” the developments and remained in contact with the local law enforcement authorities in Florida, as well as the FBI.
In Boston, police there offered resources and assistance to their counterparts in Orlando. The city was the site of a terrorist attack in April 2013, during The Boston Marathon.
The Chicago Police Department said they were stepping up patrols around the city’s North Side and in its Boystown area, which is one of the largest and oldest LGBT communities in the nation. The CPD emphasized that there is no intelligence of a threat against the community, but only that they were acting “out of caution.”
The city of San Francisco is scheduled to hold a LGBT Pride celebration on June 25. The San Francisco Police Department, which has been holding meetings to plan security measures for the event, said it would hold more meetings. Additional patrols have been placed in areas such as the Castro District, an LGBT community, and at high-traffic locations around the city.
In Los Angeles, police on Sunday were on high alert at the L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood. Police in the city arrested a 20-year-old man from Indiana — heavily armed with assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and ammunition — who was headed to the parade. It was later determined that there likely was no connection to the Orlando shooting.
Law enforcement officials in some cities overseas, such as London, also have increased patrols at major local venues, as well as at key LGBT establishments. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police of London said LGBT liaison officers are working their networks to determine how to best support the communities. Law enforcement and military officials in France have remained on high alert ever since the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, and security has been heightened since the beginning of the Euro Cup soccer tournament last week.
Locally in Orlando, reaction on Sunday was swift to enhance security measures at the major tourist venues. Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld placed metal detectors at their gates.
“The safety of guests and team members is our highest priority,” said a spokeswoman for Universal Orlando on Monday. She added, “Our property is patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Law enforcement officials always have and will continue to maintain a strong, ongoing presence [at the park].”
The Universal Orlando spokeswoman also said, “We’re trying to keep the guests safe.” She said further: “All personal items are subject to inspection, that goes for guests and team members. We started this a while ago, but it’s more important now.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those touched by the unimaginable events that occurred in Orlando,” said a spokeswoman for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. “The safety of our ambassadors, guests and animals has always been our top priority. Our security teams work closely with law enforcement and we have enhanced security measures at all our parks. Like other major attractions and law enforcement agencies in the area, we do not comment on the details of our security measures in order to maintain their effectiveness.”
“Our primary focus is on supporting local authorities and elected officials as they respond to this horrific incident,” said Visit Orlando president and ceo George Aguel. “The outpouring of support from across the globe, the robust efforts from law enforcement and our commitment to providing a safe environment to visitors gives us confidence that we will remain a destination of choice for visitors.
“The tourism community and local authorities have always worked closely on a comprehensive approach to security to ensure a safe environment for visitors,” Aguel added. “Over time, the measures have evolved with a particular focus on prevention, using technology and effective sharing of information. Safety remains a top priority for the destination.”
Over at The Mall at Millenia, Michele Jacobs, corporate director of marketing and operations for The Forbes Co. centers in Florida, said, “The safety of our guests and employees is always the highest priority for The Mall at Millenia. This horrific incident has had a tremendous impact on the Orlando community. Our hearts go out to all who have been touched by this senseless tragedy. While there are no known threats at this time, we remain in contact with local and federal authorities and will remain vigilant for the safety and emotional well-being of our guests and employees.”
The Mall at Millenia is about five miles from where the shooting occurred, according to a Macy’s sales associate on Sunday. Macy’s is an anchor tenant, and this individual said that Orlando police had a visible presence at all mall entrances.
“As a result, of this weekend’s tragic event, we have taken additional measures including increased security, both visibly and behind the scenes,” said John Stein, director of marketing and sales, I-Drive 360, a new $250 million entertainment destination and home of the Orlando Eye, the largest observation wheel on the East Coast. “We are also working in close collaboration with local law enforcement officials, which visitors will see a greater presence throughout the International Drive resort area. Visitor traffic is consistent with this time of the year.”
A spokeswoman for Uniqlo USA said, “As we prepare to open our first store in Orlando, we wish to extend our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies to the Orlando community during these tragic and difficult times.”