'We feel for Colorado:' Palm Beach County community reacts to LGBTQ shooting

'It just boils down to hate at the end of the day,' activist says
Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 19:05:29-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As new details emerge about the shooting over the weekend at an LGBTQ club in Colorado, LGBTQ community members and activists Palm Beach County are talking to WPTV about the tragedy.

Gerald Arroyo-Prada, an activist for the LGBTQ community, spoke to WPTV on Monday near the Northwood Village Pride streetscape.

"It just boils down to hate at the end of day," Arroyo-Prada said. "It affected us as a community. It affected us as a state, as a whole. We feel for Colorado. I can't imagine what someone must be going through, especially a family member of one of those people who were lost."

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LGBTQ activist Gerald Arroyo-Prada explains how the shooting in Colorado makes him feel.

Christine Leinonen can imagine.

"We should go to our graves never knowing this," Leinonen said.

She lost her son, Drew, in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016. She instantly thought of her late mother when she learned of the Colorado tragedy.

"I hadn't missed my mother that much until I lost my own son," said Leinonen, "and I thought about these kids who died and these new kids who've suffered, and how much they probably wanted their mothers."

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Christine Leinonen lost her son, Drew, in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando back in 2016.

She said it will always be different for the families touched by the tragedy in Colorado, but there is hope to feel joy down the road.

Arroyo-Prada sees the glimmer of hope too, if only he could feel safe once again.

"To see this happen again, it makes you feel unsafe in your own home, in your own town," he said. "Who wants that? No one."