Orlando, Florida – Gunman open fire in a gay nightclub, leaving over 50 people killed and at least 53 wounded in the deadliest shooting in American history
- Nightclub Shooting – 2.02 a.m, local time, reports of shots fired.
- Orlando Police engaged in a gun battle with suspect who went back into the nightclub (Pulse) and started a hostage situation
- According Orlando Police Chief John Mina, the gunman named Omar Mateen of Ft. Pierce, Florida was origanized and well-prepared, having an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of device on him”. The suspect is now dead.
- Law enforcement sources told that the suspect had possible explosive devices strapped to his body and in his vehicle but a U.S. official said no such devices were found.
Authorities said they consider the violence an act of domestic terror and that are looking into the possibility the attack was a hate crime.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he had declared a state of emergency for the city and has requested the governor do the same for the state.
“We are dealing with something we never imagined. Since the last update, we have gotten better access to the building, cleared the building. It is with great sadness I share that we have 50 casualties, in addition to the shooter. Because of the scale I have called Governor Scott to request a state of emergency and we are issuing a state of emergency in the City. This allows us to bring additional resources to support our efforts.
Our focus in the coming hours will be identifying the victims and notifying the families. We are setting up a hotline for concerned family members – 407.246.4357. The identification process may take some time. We ask for your patience as we want to be accurate. I continue to be proud of how our community has responded.” – Mayor Buddy Dyer
The Orlando Regional Medical Center, Arnold Palmer Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital were placed on lockdown but the lockdown was lifted by the end of the morning, officials said.
At the Orlando Regional Medical Center, relatives looking for loved ones were instructed to go to the medical center’s north tower with identification. Hospital staff will escort family members with IDs to a family meeting area.