Orlando Mass Shooting: Worst in U.S. History
June 12th, 2016
As hundreds of patrons were having an enjoyable Saturday night at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred during the early hours of the following Sunday. As of 11:00 am ET, 50 people have been confirmed dead, with at least 53 others wounded. The suspect, Omar Mateen, is also dead after being gunned down by Orlando police. Police have classified the attack as a terror incident—the worst since 9/11.
Pulse Nightclub is a gay club in Orlando that describes itself as “a world of fun and fantasy.” At the time of the shooting, more than 300 people were inside.
According to the New York Times, Mateen was an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, approximately 125 miles southeast of Orlando.
Several sources, including the New York Times and ABC News, noted that the gunman was “organized and well-prepared.” The suspect’s recovered weapons included a handgun and an “AR 15-type assault rifle with additional rounds,” according to Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department. It is uncertain yet whether or not Mateen was acting alone. According to the New York Times Live Update page, “Federal law enforcement officials are investigating a terrorism connection.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer posted on his blog at 10:20 am ET, “Because of the scale I have called Governor Scott to request a state of emergency and we are issuing a state of emergency in the City. This allows us to bring additions resources to support our efforts.” He also stated that the current focus is “identifying the victims and notifying the families.”
As ISIS sympathizers are praising the attack, there is speculation of ISIS connections. The gunman allegedly made a 911 call in which he pledged his allegiance to ISIS, officials say. Updates to come as more information becomes available.
UPDATE 2:53 pm ET
According to Reuters, the Islamic State's Amaq news agency has claimed responsibility for the Orlando terror attack. The news agency released a message stating that the mass shooting "was carried out by an Islamic State fighter."