50 Dead In Orlando Club Shooting, State of Emergency Declared
At least 50 people are reportedly dead after a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub shortly after 2am this morning (June 12.) The mass killing took place at Pulse, a gay nightclub, and left at least 50 dead and wounding more than 50 additional people, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
CNN reports that Mayor Buddy Dyer has declared a state of emergency and the attack has been called an act of terrorism by Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
"It appears he was organized and well-prepared," Chief Mina said early Sunday. The shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and "some type of (other) device on him."
"There's blood everywhere," U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson told reporters. "There's an enormous amount of evidence to be collected."
"It's just shocking," said Christopher Hansen, who was inside Pulse when he heard gunshots, "just one after another after another."It could have lasted a whole song."
Shots began around 2 a.m. EST in the venue, with around 200 people inside, the dead was initially estimated at 20 people before the Mina reported 50 casualties. 29-year old Omar Saddiqui Mateen was killed in a shootout that left one officer wounded in the eye. CNN reports that investigators have said that Saddiqui Mateen, who is from Port St. Lucie, Florida approximately 120 miles away from Orlando, might have ties to radical Islam..
Investigators "have suggestions the individual has leanings towards (Islamic terrorism), but right now we can't say definitely," Ron Hopper, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Orlando bureau told CNN.
"It's no coincidence the attack took place where it did and when it did," U.S. Representative Alan Grayson said.
Grayson declared the shooting a "hate crime."
Some celebrities and GLAAD reacted to the horrific news on social media.