Gunman Killed After Standoff In Gay Club, Death Toll At 50
It’s not even been two days and the city of Orlando has suffered another deadly shooting. Less than 36 hours after vocal singer Christina Grimmie was gunned down after performing a show Friday night, another shooting took place.
Orlando Police responded to gunshots at Pulse Club, a gay club, and got into a firefight with the lone gunman at roughly 2 a.m. A SWAT team entered the venue at 6 a.m. and killed the gunman after he took hostages.
“Everyone get out of pulse and keep running,” the club posted on social media.
Early reports indicated that approximately 20 people were dead and another 42 were in the process of being rushed to the hospital. The latest report according to Orlando police is the count is now up to 50 deaths. He has declared the city of Orlando to be in a state of emergency.
“Tonight our community witnessed or experienced a very horrific crime,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told media near the scene Sunday morning. “Many lives were lost, and many more individuals were impacted by witnessing the crime.”
The gunman, now confirmed as Omar Mateen, entered near closing time when there were approximately 320 people still in the club. Many of them were able to flee the scene but there were some who took refuge in the bathrooms and were held hostage as the extensive gunfight took place in the club. At one point, an explosion was heard but Orlando police confirmed via social media that it was a controlled explosion meant to distract the gunman.
The act is currently being investigated for any such ties or as an act of domestic terrorism.
The gunman’s father spoke to NBC News said his son got upset a couple of months ago due to “two men kissing” in front of his son and wife.
“This has nothing to do with religion.” Mir Seddique, Mateen’s father said. He said his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that may be related to the shooting.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country,” Seddique said.
“We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his son and wife and he got very angry,” Seddique said to NBC News. “They were kissing and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my own son they were dong that. And then we were in the in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.'”
The Pulse club shooting is the deadliest shooting in the last 30 years and is currently being considered a “hate crime” by the authorities. The FBI is also assisting in the investigation as it is also being considered as an act of domestic terrorism. The gunman, Omar Mateen (29), was an U.S. citizen whose parents are from Afghanistan. Early reports from authorities have hinted that Mateen has tendencies towards the Islamic State but this has not yet been confirmed as there are no apparent ties according to investigators.
This is an ongoing story and News Talk Florida will keep you updated.
Information from The Daily Beast, Orlando Sentinel and Associated Press was used in this report.