Time: 3:14 p.m. CEST Update: 7:18 p.m. CEST
President Barack Obama said that shooting in Orlando is an “attack of terror” and “attack of hatred.” Obama called the Sunday, a “heartbreaking day.” Obama called this “a sobering remainder that any attack on any American, is attack on all of us.”
“The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing and to live.” Place that was attacked is more than nightclub, it is a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their mind, to advocate for their civil rights,” Obama said.
The President confirmed the attacker had a handgun and assault-rifle. “This massacre is further remainder who is easy for someone to had hands on the weapon and let’s them shoot people in a school, or a house of worship, or at movie theater, or at a night club,” Obama said.
Previously, media said that prior to the shooting, the attacker called 911 and pledged his allegiance to Islamic State group.
The person who killed about 50 people and injured at least 53 at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida early Sunday police identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a U.S. resident. Mateen, who police shot after he opened fire inside the club with AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun, is of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, which is 123 miles south of Orlando. Police say he is responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. history.
The investigation into incident, that authorities described as “domestic terror attack” is in early stages and there are no information about possible motives. Mateen who used assault rifle is a U.S. citizen, but his family is from Afghanistan. Mir Seddique, the shooter’s father, said to NBC News that the shooting had, “nothing to do with religion.” He also said Mateen got angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago and that may have been a trigger in the shooting.
Despite those claims of the family members, Ron Hopper, the FBI assistant agent in charge, said at the news conference that they are “looking into all angles” but “do have suggestions” that the suspect had leanings toward jihadist ideologies.
CNN’s Evan Pérez said that Mateen rented a car in Fort Pierce so he could travel to Orlando “for the terrorist attack and that he worked as a security officer.” Online records show he was a registered Democrat. Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Mateen had been, “on the radar” of U.S. authorities for a while but that he was not the target of an investigation.
Previously, officials update the number of death to 50 and number of injured to 53 after the Orlando shooting. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed the number of death. In about three hours officials would give another update, but now they are focusing on the identifications of victims and notification of the families. As the Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says, they are still securing the area, but could not approach to all victims. Orlando Police Chief John Mina says they will focus on the identification and notification, but says they would know how many died when approach to the site. An Imam of the Islamic Society of the Central Florida appealed to all who have any details to call Federal Bureau of Investigation and law-enforcement.
About 20 people died and at least 42 are in hospitals after a gunman opened a fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. National Public Radio says, “Orlando Police Chief John Mina said to reporters he did not have an exact death toll for the mass casualty situation, but that “around 20” people succumbed to gunshot wounds inside the Pulse Orlando nightclub. Earlier information say the suspect is also dead.
The police classified the attack as a “terror incident.” Local and federal authorities were investigating, and the F.B.I. set up a hotline for tips, the New York Times reports.
The shooting started at about 2:00 a.m. EST, when a shooter opened fire at Pulse, and the situation later developed into a hostage situation. Mina describes the events:
“At approximately 02:02 hours this morning, we had an officer working at Pulse nightclub, who responded to shots fired. Our officer engaged in a gun battle with that suspect. That suspect at some point went back inside the club, where more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation. Obviously multiple officers from various agencies responded, SWAT team responded. At approximately 05:00 hours this morning, the decision was made to rescue hostages that were in there.”
People inside the club contacted police. Police officers used explosive devices and an armored vehicle to blast through a wall and exchanged fires with the suspect before killing him. Mina says they saved at least 30 people in a situation in which the suspect, “appeared to be carrying a rifle — an assault-type rifle — and a handgun, and had some type of device on him,” Mina adds. Possible device was found in the suspect’s car, Mina says. One police officer was injured in the shooting, but the Kevlar helmet probably saved his life. Eight other officers participated in the exchange fire, which Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says, they are classifying this as a “domestic terror incident.”