49 shot and killed at Orlando nightclub, gunman killed by police

According to Orlando Police Department, at least 49 people were shot and killed early Sunday morning, when a gunman carrying an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida.

Police estimates that 50 people were killed and 53 people got injured in the shooting.

In addition to the guns, the shooter also had some sort of “suspicious device,” OPD Police Chief John Mina said.

According to Mina, the suspect, identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, first exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, before he went back inside and took hostages. The club had more than 300 people inside when the incident occurred.

During the attack, videos emerged on Twitter and YouTube from beyond the police barricades of loud sounds of gunshots and of people injured from the shooting.

After receiving several calls from people inside who were still hiding from the suspect, a SWAT team was sent inside the club at 5 a.m. to rescue the hostages from the gunman. According to OPD they managed to rescue at least 30 people from inside the club and brought them out alive.

They were also able to kill the gunman after entering the building, Mina said.

Orlando authorities said they consider the violence an act of domestic terror and FBI is involved in the investigation. Mina also added that “this is one of the worst mass shootings in our nation’s history.”

According to multiple sources, the suspect’s father has spoken out about the incident, where he apologizes for what his son did. He does not believe his son’s motivation for the killing had anything to do with religion, but rather about how badly his son reacted to two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago.

In a press conference Sunday morning Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “Today we are dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable. Since the last update we have cleared the building, and it is with great sadness that I share we have not 20, but 50 causalities. In addition to the shooter, there are another 53 that are hospitalized.”

Furthermore, he said “Because of the scale of the crime I have asked the governor to declare a state of emergency, we have also issued a state of emergency for the city of Orlando so that we can bring additional resources to bear to deal with the aftermath. Our focus is going to be on identifying the victims and notify the families. We are setting up a hotline for concerned family members. The identification process may take some time, so we ask for your patience because we want to be accurate. Concerned family members can call the hotline however, and let them know that you have someone you are concerned about.”

The White House also released the following statement following the shooting, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

If you are looking for a family member, call the city’s crisis hotline at 407-246-4357.

FBI is also asking that anyone who went to Pulse nightclub and left before the shooting call their friends and family.

The story will continue to be updated throughout the day, as more information is being released.