Cole County will now lower flags after Orlando shooting

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COLE COUNTY – Cole County commissioners changed their vote Tuesday and began flying flags at half-staff in the county in response to the Orlando shooting.

The county commission initially voted 2-1 against lowering the flags Monday. Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle changed his vote, however, and the flags were lowered after 2 p.m.

“This was the worst tragedy since Sept. 11 and it probably warranted lowering the flags,” said Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman, who voted Monday to lower the flags.

Bushman said the county does not get any direction from the federal government about whether flags should be lowered. He said the only way the county finds out is through the news.

Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher, who was the only remaining opponent, said there's no "magic number" of victims in determining how to respond to an attack.

“I didn’t think it should be lowered, because I think these are just victims of a heinous crime, whether it was a terrorist attack or not,” he said.

Cole County did not order flags at half-staff after the attacks in Newtown, Connecticut or San Bernadino, California.

Chariton and Lafayette counties are the only remaining counties in the state that have not lowered the flag in the wake of the shooting. Miller County kept its flag up for Flag Day, but it is now flying at half-staff.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Sunday that ordered the flag to be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all federal government buildings across the country “as a mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror.”

Flags at the State Capitol were flying half staff Tuesday.

(Editor's note: has corrected this story to add updated information about Miller County.)