Grangebel Park was the location of another candlelit vigil for gun control in 2013. File photo

Local residents are organizing additional candlelit vigils for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando.

Forty-nine people lost their lives in a shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning in Orlando. More than 50 others were wounded in the shooting.

A downtown vigil will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the bandstand in Grangebel Park. Angela Devito, president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, will open the vigil, followed by some brief statements from local members of the LGBT community, including recent Riverhead High School graduate Nina Keller.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to share their own thoughts and tributes during the vigil.

“Nina said that one of the things that’s really hard for her and her friends is that they don’t really have anyone to talk to about this,” Devito said. “I hope this will be a place where they can express themselves.”

She emphasized the importance of the Riverhead community standing in solidarity with its LGBT neighbors.

“I think that the community needs to stand up, so that people know that Riverhead does care, that we embrace everyone,” she said.

Attendees are encouraged to bring candles or lighters and their own beach chairs, since there are only a few benches available.

Another candlelit service will be held Monday evening at Riverhead Town Hall.

Organized by the Riverhead Town Anti-Bias Task Force,  Monday’s vigil will take place at 5 p.m. on the front lawn of Riverhead Town Hall, located at 200 Howell Avenue.

“We need to stand together as a community in offering our sorrow and prayers to those who lost their lives and to all those wounded from this senseless act of violence,” said Connie Lassandro, chairperson of the Anti-Bias Task Force, in an announcement today. “Please join with us, bring family, friends and neighbors – stand united as a community.”

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Katie Morosky
Katie, winner of the 2016 James Murphy Cub Reporter of the Year award from the L.I. Press Club, is a co-publisher of RiverheadLOCAL. A Riverhead native, she is a 2014 graduate of Stony Brook University. Email Katie