50 Dead, 53 Wounded in Orlando
At about 2 a.m. this morning, shots ranged out. An officer working extra duty in full uniform at the club responded.
CNN reports that the he and two other officers nearby opened fire on the shooter, and a gun battle ensues. The shooter went inside the club, where a hostage situation developed.
Some 100 officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department respond to the chaotic scene. At about 2:22 a.m. the shooter called 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS. He also mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers.
It was around 5 a.m. when heavily armed SWAT team members use an armored vehicle to smash down a door at the club, clearing the way for some 30 people inside to flee to safety. SWAT officers confronted the suspect in the doorway, shoot and kill him. One officer was injured.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina stated that the shooter was armed with an assault-type rifle and a handgun.
Authorities have identified the shooter as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida. June 6th started the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. A top ISIS official issued a call for attacks throughout the world during Ramadan. The mass killings at the Pulse might be the only attack, or one of many to come.
Matteen is a U.S. citizen, born in New York. In 2013, he got on the FBI’s radar and then again in 2014. The agency interviewed Mateen twice but were “unable to verify the substance of his comments.” According to the ATF, in the last week, Mateen legally purchased at least two firearms.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer reported the death toll as 50, with 53 others wounded. Some of the bodies are still on the scene. The names of the deceased and wounded have not been released.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Orange County.
CLARIFICATION: The 50 dead includes 49 victims and the shooter.
Our positive thoughts and prayers to the families of the deceased and the injured.