In the latest update on the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the police now say that 50 people have been killed while 53 have been seriously wounded.
The police used an armoured vehicle to storm Pulse nightclub and release 30 hostages. Law enforcement officials have identified the gunman as Omar Mateen, an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, reported The New York Times.
BREAKING: The massacre at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history— The Associated Press (@AP) June 12, 2016
The FBI is now treating this as a case of terrorism. There were about 300 people inside the club when the incident occurred. The killer stormed the Pulse nightclub armed with an assault rifle and a handgun. Investigators are still looking into the possibility that he had explosives, as well.
Gunman's father tells NBC News his son got angry a couple months ago when he saw men kissing at Bayside in Miami pic.twitter.com/MSdCYcHuF9— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 12, 2016
Shooting erupted at the nightclub early on Sunday.
The violence broke out at the Pulse nightclub, the Orlando police said on Twitter, advising people to “stay away from area.”
Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on S Orange. Multiple injuries. Stay away from area. pic.twitter.com/5Di2mc6XUY— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
Local media had earlier reported that from seven to as many as 20 people had been shot in the incident, but had no further details. The nightclub urged patrons in a post on its Facebook page to “get out” and “keep running.”
Several patrons posted on social media that a gunman was holed up inside and holding hostages. One man who was inside the club posted that the shooting broke out at around 2 am and that he heard about 40 shots being fired.
Police said on Twitter they had carried out a “controlled explosion” at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not say why that was done. They described the scene as a “fluid situation”.
A video posted online showed a large number of police and emergency vehicles outside the nightclub. Bomb sniffing dogs were also on the scene, CNN reported.
The nightclub shooting occurred just a day after a man thought to be a deranged fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star who gained fame on YouTube and as a contestant on “The Voice”, while she was signing autographs after a concert in Orlando.
A recent update on CNN said that the suspect in the Pulse nightclub shooting is dead, according to the Orlando Police. Authorities described the shooting as a "mass casualty situation."
Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead.— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
(With inputs from Reuters)
(Feature image source: Orlando Police)