Top: Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning and today.
Bottom: Florida Governor Rick Scott, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings called the Pulse mass shooting “an act of terrorism.” Orlando community responds with blood and food donations for the hospitalized shooting victims and law enforcement at the crime scene. The injured were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, some still fighting for their lives.
If you have any information related to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, you are urged to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI
Photos Courtesy: Orlando Police, Orlando County Sheriff’s Office and Twitter
Updated 11:30 p.m. ET
Some 50 people are dead and 53 others injured today during a horrific mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida. The deadly attack happened around 2 a.m. Sunday at the club.
On Twitter, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said it was “one of the worst mass shootings in our nation’s history” and the “suspect had a handgun and AR 15 type rifle. During the ordeal, the gunman held 30 people hostage for 3 hours before the SWAT team rushed inside. Chief Mina tweeted that before units arrived, an off-duty Orlando Police officer working at the Pulse Night Club engaged the gunman as he opened fire.
“Our first responders and the SWAT team faced a hail of gunfire as they rescued the hostages and we are blessed beyond words that none of them were gravely injured or killed,” Chief Mina tweeted. One officer was saved by his Kelvar helmet during the shootout and rescue.
“We will not be defined by this act of terror,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “This probably is the most difficult day in the history of Orlando,” Mayor Dyer said Sunday afternoon.
“The FBI is investigating this as an act of terrorism and act of hate,” President Obama said.
“This is a tragic day for our friends who are Gay and Lesbian…An attack on them is an attack on all of us” said President Obama during a White House news conference this afternoon. The president also asked everyone to pray for America and the victims’ families.
Florida Governor Rick Scott in Orlando and City of Orlando officials declared a state of emergency and asked everyone to pray for Orlando and Florida.
Orlando Police say the gunman was found dead inside the nightclub. The suspect was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida. Orlando Police tweeted Mateen was an “American citizen born in New York. FBI became aware of him in 2013.” Mateen was questioned by the FBI for statements he made, but the cases were closed, according to news reports. He was a security guard in Fort Pierce.
“The gunman, an American citizen living in Florida, legally purchased the firearms within the last week,” said Trevor Velinor, Asst. Special Agent In Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tampa Field Office in an Orlando Police summary.
CAIR and National Muslim leaders also held a news conference today to condemn the mass shooting in Orlando and urged Muslims to donate blood for the survivors.
Late Sunday afternoon, the City of Orlando began releasing the victims’ names on http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
If you are looking for a family member who was at the Pulse Night Club, call the Orlando Crisis line at 407-246-4357.
In the days and weeks ahead, Orlando law enforcement and the community will be grieving and mourning. Vigils in memory of the shooting victims were held Sunday night in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg and other cities across the country.