(WRC) -- A Virginia Republican group is under fire after using a shocking image of President Obama as part of a Halloween email.
The depiction of President Obama as a "zombie" with a bullet hole in his forehead was part of the illustration in email sent to members of the Loudoun County Republican committee asking them to help decorate a float for the Halloween parade in Leesburg.
Thousands of Loudoun County residents and their kids turned out to enjoy the time-honored tradition.
Most paradegoers were unaware that a national news story was brewing around them.
Even as the parade continued through downtown Leesburg, outraged official responses began pouring in.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonald called on the Loudoun GOP to "apologize for their actions, and to immediately ensure that such imagery is never used again.''
Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said the image "has no place in our politics. Ever.''
Even before the last float made its way down King Street Mark Sell, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee issued a statement saying the depiction of the President "represented a light-hearted attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday. Apparently, some individuals have interpreted an image of Barack Obama that appeared within the email as intending to portray the President as a victim of a violent crime. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we deeply and sincerely apologize to the President and anyone who viewed the image if that was the impression that was left."
The email also featured a "zombified" picture of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.