53 Killed at Pulse Gay Club in Orlando; Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History
BREAKING – UPDATES:
53 dead inside the Pulse Gay Club and 53 injured sent to hospital. This is a massacre.
The horror is unfolding. We are hearing reports that the gunman held people hostage for three hours, while others lay injured or dead. Negotiator and swat teams were sent to the scene. One shooter is dead. Assault weapons used. According to reports was a well prepared shooter. Included an explosive device. Swat team created a distraction explosion so that they could swarm in and take out the shooter.
“Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running,” the nightclub posted on its Facebook page about 2 a.m. ET.
The shooting began inside the club and continued outside when an officer working at Pulse attempted to confront him. The gunman then went back into the club, resumed shooting and took hostages.
At 5 a.m., Chief Mina said, the police decided to rescue the hostages, detonating a “controlled explosion” to help clear the club. At least nine officers were involved in the shooting with the gunman. One of them was slightly injured, the authorities said.
A few miles away, the Orlando Regional Medical Center was placed on lockdown, the hospital said in a statement. Only essential workers were being allowed access into the building. Arnold Palmer Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital were also on lockdown out of an abundance of caution, officials said. MORE.
ORLANDO PRESS HERE:
UPDATED: 42 people with gunshot wounds taken to hospital. FBI will lead investigation.
Shooter reorted also to have had a suspicious device.
One of the owners of Pulse started the club to promote awareness about the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Her brother died from AIDS.
Barbara Poma opened Pulse on Orange Avenue in Orlando with her friend and co-founder Ron Legler in 2004. It hosts nightly themed performances as well as a monthly program of LGBT-related educational events.
Pulse refers to itself as “not just another gay club.” Saturday night was Latin night.
UPDATED: 9.13 am (EASTERN)
Hearing reports from friends in Florida that they have heard the shooter was “yelling Islamic statements” while the police were shooting at him. Also CNN is veering from reports of domestic terrorism and suggesting radical Islamic terrorism, noting the shooter was from out of town.
The news is suggesting that it is Radical Islam terrorist. I am surprised they saying this so soon. But seem to have information veering from domestic terrorism. Man already known to FBI. Trying to fig if anyone else involved.
According to FOX NEWS – FBI is reporting that the shooter had made terror threats in the past. Will follow this.
The name of the shooter is being reported as: Omar Saddique Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Fl.
Some reports say he is from Florida and others say from a Middle East Country.
We note that ISIS had been calling on lone attackers to attack America during Ramadan.
Now learning his family is from Afghanistan.
ISIS Sympathizers are tweeting anti gay messages at this time:
UPDATED 10.15 Eastern Time:
CONGRESSMAN GRAYSON: Confirming its a terror attack.
50 casualties. Number gone up . State of Emergency declared.
As of this time no claim of responsibility by ISIS. Though there are reports that he had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
FBI investigating as an act of terrorism. All aspects of associations he had . This is an act of hate and terrorism.
Express condolences, gratitude to first-responders.
Especially hard day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends. The place where attacked was more than just a night club, but a place of solidarity. And attack on all Americans. On fundamental values of our country. Today marks the most deadly shooting in USA history. A further reminded for how easy it is for someone to get a weapon and shoot, in a nightclub, movie theater etc…
In the days to come we will learn who the victims were – pray for them and their families…
Define our country by how they lived their lives, not by the hate of the man who killed them….
COMMUNITY NOTES:POLICE ARE ASKING ALL WHO WERE IN NIGHTCLUB TO REPORT TO THEM – they will need to hear from all witnesses. This is very important.