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Worst Mass Shooting in US History Leaves 50 Dead, Many Wounded at Orlando Gay Club

Common Dreams staff

UPDATED...

Officials announced at a 10:15 AM EDT news conference that the number of dead in this morning's Orlando mass shooting has risen to 50.

 

 

DEVELOPING...

A shooting rampage at an Orlando, Florida nightclub early Sunday left "approximately 20" people dead, including the gunman, and 42 injured, authorities said.

At a 7 AM EDT news conference, Police Chief John Mina said the shooting began at 2:02 a.m., when three police officers engaged in a gun battle with a suspect outside Orlando Pulse, an LGBTQ club just south of downtown. A hostage situation then took place inside, and a SWAT team was called in, Mina said. Police received updates from patrons trapped in the club, and decided to storm the club at about 5 a.m.

"We exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he was dead at the scene", Mina said.

Javer Antonetti, 53, told the Orlando Sentinel that he was near the back of the dance club when he heard gunfire. "There were so many (shots), at least 40," he said. "I saw two guys and it was constant, like 'pow, pow, pow,'."

Mina said 42 people were transferred to local hospitals, and one officer was wounded. He estimated the death toll at 20, and said at least 30 people were rescued.

"Tonight our community witnessed a horrific crime... that will have a lasting effect on our community," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

"Do we consider this an act of terrorism? Absolutely, we are investigating this from all parties’ perspective as an act of terrorism," said Danny Banks, special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Danny Banks.

"We can confirm this is a mass casualty situation. Support from local/state/federal agencies," Orlando police tweeted about four hours after events began to unfold. Then, a short time later: "Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead."

 

 

"Do we consider this an act of terrorism? Absolutely, we are investigating this from all parties’ perspective as an act of terrorism," said Danny Banks, special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Danny Banks.

Orlando's annual weeklong Gay Days festival ended on June 6 in which up to 150,000 in the LGBTQ community come from over the world for the 25th anniversary of Gay Days. It is one of the largest gay pride events in the world.


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