The city of Orlando is in shock after what is being called the worst mass shooting in US history. Police stated today that around 2:00 a.m., Sunday morning a man walked into the Pulse Orlando gay night club armed with a handgun and assault rifle and opened fire on patrons. Witnesses reported a chaotic scene as rapid gunfire erupted with many confusing the sound with the pulsating music at the club. But soon the reality of the danger hit as victims went down and people ran for cover. An Orlando police officer who was working off-duty exchanged gunfire with a male suspect.
The suspect now identified as Omar Siddiqi Mateen then took hostages as patrons fled and more law enforcement arrived. Police then responded with a SWAT team and hostage negotiator and the club posted on its Facebook page, “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Reports are stating that at least 100 people were in the club’s Latin night promotion. It was decided around 4:00 a.m. that the danger to the hostages and others was imminent and a takedown of the armed suspect was initiated. Police used a Bearcat Assault Vehicle to break through a club door and Mateen was shot dead. A handgun and an assault type weapon were recovered from his body as well as what is being described as a suicide vest. Police deployed a bomb ordinance robot and a controlled explosion was initiated outside of the club.
During a police press conference at 7:15 a.m., law enforcement labeled the shooting an act of domestic terror.Police have stated that Matten was from Port St. Lucie, Florida. His parents are from Afghanistan and he was a US citizen born in New York City. An FBI spokesperson stated that there are suggestions that the individual may have radical Islamic leanings. In addition, police are stating that the attack seemed well planned and others might be involved. At least 53 people were injured and transported to the hospital and at least 50 people are being reported dead. The exact number of deaths has not been released because some victims are still lying on the dance floor as the crime scene is being processed. Reports are stating that at 8:05 a.m. victims were still being transported to the hospital in trucks and other vehicles as the number of victims needing medical treatment exceeded the number of available ambulances for transport. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have also been deployed to the scene.
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