A gunman opened fire inside an Orlando nightclub last night and killed roughly 20 people. Police are saying roughly 40 were injured.
Pulse Orlando, a gay nightclub in Orlando, posted this message late last night:
The gunman was killed by police on the scene. Law enforcement officials deemed this an act of domestic terrorism.
According to the AP, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the gunman was armed with a handgun and an assault rife. The gunman had been holed up in there with hostages for a few hours before the SWAT team stormed in.
One witness who was at the club last night spoke to GMA this morning and described “hearing 10 shots per minute.” He said, “People were screaming, people started running.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 12, 2016
The gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen, an American citizen whose family originates from Afghanistan. The FBI said they are combing through his background, and they have indicated that Mateen had been on their radar, that he had weapons training, and that there were “suggestions” of leaning towards radical Islamic terrorism (via ABC):
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2016
It’s not clear yet whether the location was targeted specifically because it was a gay nightclub, but Mateen’s father said that his son became extremely angry months ago when he saw a same-sex couple kissing in public. The father told NBC that he does not believe this attack was motivated by religion.
Various political figures have weighed in on the disaster, and indications make it almost certain that homophobia, guns, Islamic extremist violence, and other relevant subjects will be the prevalent media focus for the foreseeable future.
This horrifying shooting comes just one day after The Voice singer Christina Grimmie was fatally shot at an Orlando concert.
UPDATE –– 10:23 am EDT: The police said at a press conference this morning that the death toll is now 50.
UPDATE –– 10:57 am EDT:: That above number means this is now the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
UPDATE — 11:30 am EDT:: Orlando police have shared a photo of a helmet one of their officers wore as he engaged Mateen in a firefight.
Pulse shooting: In hail of gunfire in which suspect was killed, OPD officer was hit. Kevlar helmet saved his life. pic.twitter.com/MAb0jGi7r4
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
UPDATE — 12:15 am EDT: Congressman Adam Schiff says that he’s been in contact with officials who say that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS.
UPDATE — 1:18 pm EDT: NBC has a chilling new report on how Mateen declared his allegiance to terrorism.
— NBC Charlotte (@wcnc) June 12, 2016
UPDATE — 2:31 pm EDT: President Obama delivered an address where he expressed his sympathy to the LGBT community while condemning the attack as “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
UPDATE — 4:02 pm EDT: The city of Orlando will be releasing all the victims’ names here.
[image via screengrab]
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