The Orlando Pulse Nightclub Mass Shooting Is The Deadliest In US History
In the early hours of Sunday morning, inside Orlando's premier gay nightclub, Pulse, 29-year-old Omar Mateen walked in and opened fire, killing 49 people and leaving more than 50 injured.
Almost immediately, the more than 300 people in the club started dropping to the floor to crawl and hide while others fled. According to witnesses, the shooting lasted an entire song.
The nightclub said in a Facebook post,
According to The Los Angeles Times, around 5 am, a SWAT team entered the nightclub, drawing some fire from Mateen before killing him.
The Los Angeles Times additionally reported, prior to entering the club and committing this heinous crime, Mateen called 911 and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State.
Club-goer Christopher Hansen told NBC,
As police gained control of the situation, one thing became readily apparent: This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
The incident is reportedly being investigated as an act of terrorism, according to NBC News. However, the shooter's father told NBC it wasn't about religion, instead, it was about his son's own apparent homophobia.
His father additionally told LA Times,
If you are looking to help the Orlando blood bank desperately needs blood donors.
A release from OneBlood said,
To find a donation center near you, visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate. As of publication, the site is down, likely due to overwhelming traffic, so consider calling if you or someone you know would like to donate blood.
Our thoughts are with all victims and their families on this tragic day.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that the shooter killed 50 people; new reports say the shooter killed 49.
Citations: Florida Nightclub Massacre Is Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History (NBC News), Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Mass Casualties After Gunman Opens Fire in Gay Club (NBC News), Orlando nightclub shooting: 50 killed, 53 injured; gunman identified as Omar Mateen (Los Angeles Times), Blood donors needed after mass shooting in Orlando (The Orlando Sentinel), Orlando Police Detail Battle to End Massacre at Gay Nightclub (The New York Times)