50 people are dead and at least 53 injured
in what is being described as the worst mass shooting in American
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Sunday told
reporters that the death toll from a terror attack on the Pulse
nightclub had risen to 50 people, up from earlier reports of 20.
Pulse bills itself as “Orlando's premiere gay night club.”
Police identified the gunman as Omar
Mateen, a 29-year-old man from Port St. Lucie, Florida, which is
located about 120 miles south of Orlando.
Chief John Mina said that the incident started at 2:02 AM, when
Mateen and three police officers engaged in a gun battle outside the
club. A SWAT team was called in as Mateen turned the incident into a
hostage situation. At about 5 AM, police stormed the club, killing
Mateen was heavily armed, carrying an
assault rifle, a handgun and an unidentified “device.”
Dyer called the incident a “horrific
crime … that will have a lasting effect on our community.”
FBI Special Agent Ronald Hopper said
that the suspect might have “leanings” toward radical Islam and
that the incident was being investigated as a possible act of
terrorism, either domestic or international.
Mateen's father, Mir Seddique, told NBC
News, “this has nothing to do with religion.” He added that
his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a few months