A reported active shooter has been reported by multiple news channels at local gay-friendly bar, Pulse Night Club. Around 2:40 a.m., Pulse Night Club’s Facebook page shared a post reading “Get out of Pulse and keep running.” Eyewitnesses have claimed that at least twenty people were shot and there are reports that the shooter has barricaded hostages inside the night club and that he has a bomb strapped to him.
Our thoughts are with Orlando and all those affected.
More to come.
- US citizen Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire inside Pulse gay club in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning
- Omar Mateen, from Port St. Lucie in Florida, killed at least 50 people, injured 53 and took about 100 party-goers hostage
- Police used an explosive device to distract the gunman and rescued around 30 people who had been taken hostage
via NBC News:
At least 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire and took hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.
The shooter, identified by several law enforcement sources as Omar Mateen, 29, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement after a three-hour siege.
The massacre — the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States — began when the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m. ET with an AR-15 type rifle and a handgun, officials said.
Among the latest developments:
- The gunman called 911 before the attack, expressing fealty to ISIS. He twice had been investigated by federally authorities for alleged comments he made about terrorism, but both investigations were closed.
- The names of the first victims identified in the shooting include seven men between the ages of 20 and 36 years old.
- Mateen had security and firearm licenses and the gunman’s weapons were legally purchased within the past week.
- President Obama called the attack “an act of terror and hate.”
The carnage ended at about 5 a.m. ET, when 11 Orlando police officers and three Orange County sheriff’s deputies stormed the nightclub and exchanged fire with Mateen, authorities said. City officials said about 300 people were in the club at the time of the shooting.
Seddique Mir Mateen, Mateen’s father, told NBC News that “this has nothing to do with religion” in spite of reports that his son had declared his allegiance to ISIS. The father said his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thought that might be related to the shooting.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock, like the whole country,” Seddique Mir Mateen said.
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that Omar Mateen was born in New York in 1986 and was listed as living in Fort Pierce, about 125 miles south of Orlando on Florida’s Atlantic coast. Mateen had active security officer and firearm licenses, according to Florida records, and his family said he worked in security.
The FBI first looked into Mateen in 2013 because of a statement he had made about radical Islamic propaganda, law enforcement officials told NBC News. Ron Hopper, an assistant FBI special agent in charge of Orlando operations, said the investigation began after Mateen made offensive comments to co-workers. He was interviewed twice, but the investigation was closed after the FBI wasn’t able to confirm that he had ties to radical Islam, Hopper said.
The FBI interviewed him again in 2014 when it learned that he might have a connection to a U.S. suicide bomber, but the investigation was closed because the FBI determined that “contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship,” Hopper said.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS in a 911 phone call shortly before the shooting, in which he also mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Mateen legally bought the two guns used in the shooting in the past week, said Trevor Velinor, an assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tampa.
Marriage records show he was married in Port St. Lucie in 2009, and his family said he had a 3-year-old son.
Police said that Mateen was a U.S. citizen but some of his family members aren’t. They wouldn’t say where those family members were from.
Many Muslim groups swiftly rebuked the attack Sunday.
“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” Rasha Mubarak, Orlando regional coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations , said in a statement. ” The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”
The names and ages of seven victims of Orlando’s deadly Pulse nightclub shooting have been released by the City of Orlando. Edward Sotomayor Jr – 34 years old, Stanley Almodovar III – 23, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo – 20, Juan Ramon Guerrero – 22, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera – 36, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz – 22 and Luis S. Vielma – 22.
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