An Orlando police chief has confirmed that a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, left at least 20 dead and 42 wounded, according to the Associated Press. This is a developing story.
Update: The nightclub shooter, who “took hostages”, reportedly died in a “gunbattle with SWAT officers.” According to the AP, an FBI spokesman says the Pulse “mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism.” Pulse responded in the moment last night with a heartbreaking and terrifying Facebook post.
Update: “I was thinking, are you kidding me? So I just dropped down. I just said please, please, please, I want to make it out,” said Christopher Hansen, a Pulse patron who told the AP he was in the nightclub’s VIP lounge when the shooting started, “And when I did, I saw people shot. I saw blood. You hope and pray you don’t get shot.”
Pulse describes itself as “Orlando’s hottest gay bar” on its website. The shooting took place during “Upscale Latin Saturday”, which Pulse celebrates weekly on Saturday nights. According to The Daily Beast, club owner Barbara Poma’s decision to open Pulse was spurred by a family tragedy. This is a developing story.
Update: Law enforcement sources told CBS News they have identified the suspect as Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen from Port St. Lucie, Florida, who was born to Afghan parents in 1986.
The L.A. Times’ Matt Pearce confirmed authorities had given the name to the paper’s D.C. bureau as well.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesman also told CBS how they are classifying this incident.
UPDATE: 50 dead, 53 injured, police say
Orlando Police Chief John Mina has confirmed that a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, left at least 50 dead and 53 wounded, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Update: The father of Omar S. Mateen says the massacre was likely motivated by homophobia.
“This had nothing to do with religion,” the father added. According to him, the event may be tied to a homophobic incident several months ago in which Mateen became enraged.