Orlando Sentinel editor on shooting: ‘We joined that list’

The attack that killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando was a devastating blow to the local community. Managing Editor of the Orlando Sentinel joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype to discuss the latest developments.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    For further perspective and the latest developments on the mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub, I am joined by Skype by the managing editor of "The Orlando Sentinel," John Cutter.

    John, I know it's a busy day in your newsroom, but now Orlando joins a horrible list. Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. San Bernardino. Orlando is now on that list for a very bad reason.

    JOHN CUTTER, MANAGING EDITOR, "THE ORLANDO SENTINEL": I know, and that's actually something that we talked about very early today. Orlando is often the kind of place that gets mentioned as a potential target because we are such a vacation destination. so you never want it to happen certainly. You never expect it to happen. But I know law enforcement felt it was prepared and, you know, now we join that list.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Tell us a little bit about the Orlando community. I mean, it has a history of being inclusive.

  • JOHN CUTTER:

    It does. One of the things that we often like to say to people when they come here, say, for a job interview is that this is a very inclusive community. It's much more diverse than some other parts of central Florida. There is a large, thriving and loving gay community, and this incident happened during a Latin night at the club. And obviously this is a very diverse area. There's a large group of Spanish-speaking residents, both Americans and people who have moved here. So it sort of hits right at the heart of some of our most important people.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Reporters have been out covering this all day. What are they — what sticks out to you? I mean, I've seen images of people ling up at the blood bank to donate, for example.

  • JOHN CUTTER:

    You know, a couple of things stick out. One is as I realize how much this touches everyone as soon as I arrived in the newsroom very early this morning, I mean, one of our folks was close to tears because she had not yet heard from a friend. We got a lot of that kind of thing happening in our newsroom and obviously across the community. I don't think we'll all have to go very far before we find someone who was either in the club or sadly a victim.

    But the response to the call for blood was amazing. I mean, they actually had to start turning people away. Police even talked about how people were bringing water and food down to authorities there and other members of the public who were kind of waiting for news there. That's an inspiring thing to see on an awful day like this.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    What about the relationship between the Islamic community in central Florida and the general population?

  • JOHN CUTTER:

    I mean, it struck me, it was very important that the imam here was very early at a press conference talking about inclusiveness and outreach. They've been very active with the media and with the community. There are interfaith groups that have had regular meetings, worried about Islamophobia, and have tried the make connections between the groups for just a circumstance like this, so they could be ready to respond and remind people that this is about apparently one man and not about a community.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    What do we know about the place where he came from? The suburb outside of Orlando?

  • JOHN CUTTER:

    It's about an hour-and-a-half from here. It's off of a couple of our major roads. People have been here and driven down the Florida Turnpike. It's right around there, Fort Pierce, that area. Like a lot of Florida, it has many people from other places, people who move here for lots of reasons. And why this person ended up going from apparently an hour-and-a-half down and coming to Orlando to commit this act is something that the authorities don't yet know.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right. John Cutter, managing editor of "The Orlando Sentinel," thanksfor joining us.

  • JOHN CUTTER:

    Thank you.

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