50 people have been confirmed dead in the worst mass shooting in U.S. History.
Early Sunday morning, a shooter Omar Mateen walked into Pulse, a gay Orlando nightclub, and opened fire killing 50 people and injuring at least 50 more before he was shot and killed by Orlando police.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the gunman appeared to be “organized and well prepared”, adding that the shooter, identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
At least nine officers were involve in the shootout. One officer’s Kevlar helmet was struck by a bullet, causing an eye injury. However, the helmet saved his life.
Mateen opened fire at the club around 2 a.m. Officers quickly responded and Mateen ran back into the club after engaging in a shootout with cops. “That turned into a hostage situation,” Mina said.
Officers were getting calls from people that were inside the club but away from Mateen. 30-some clubgoers were able to escape when police broke down a door with an armored vehicle. Chris Hansen, who was inside the nightclub, said the gunshots were back to back and “could’ve lasted a whole song”.
The nighclub’s Facebook paged posted: “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” shortly after the violent attack began. Orlando police urged citizens to stay away from the area and not to call their offices.
The worst mass shooting in U.S. history has been billed an act of domestic terrorism. Ron Hopper, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Orlando bureau, says that they “have suggestions the individual has leanings towards (Islamic terrorism), but right now we can’t say definitely.”
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA has condemned the tragedy, calling it a senseless act on their Twitter page.
Authorities are also leaning toward the possibility that the attack could have been a hate crime.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all that have been affected by this tragedy.
Photos from the scene and the reaction of the Muslim community after the flip.