It was about 2 a.m. at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando hosting its regular Latin night, when the music was interrupted by gunfire. On the club’s Facebook page Ricardo J. Negron Almodovar was there and said,
“Shooter opened fire @ around 2:00am. People on the dance floor and bar got down on the floor and some of us who were near the bar and back exit managed to go out through the outdoor area and just ran. I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.“
Christopher Hansen who also there said,
“Bang! Bang! Screaming. And loud noises. The guy next to me was shot … when I turned around to look everyone was falling and dropping and screaming.“
The shooting became a hostage situation, which lasted roughly three hours and left an unspecified number of people dead, including the shooter, according to police. At least 42 people were taken to hospitals. According to ABC News, approximately 320 people were inside the club at time of the shooting. Some people reported hiding in the bathroom until law enforcement secured the area.
During a press conference this morning, Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Danny Banks officially classified the shootings as an “act of terrorism.”
The FBI, along with numerous other agencies, investigating the shooting said it was not clear if it was an act of domestic or foreign terrorism.
Messages on Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter show how scared and desperate everyone was. It is the second time this weekend that Orlando was terrorized by a gunman. On Friday night, after performing a concert, Christina Grimmie was shot and killed by a gunman who killed himself.
When in God’s name are we going to tighten gun control laws in this country? This makes us all sick every time it happens. And we get sick a LOT lately.
— ferhobs (@ferhobs) June 12, 2016
— Nic Hornstein (@nichornstein) June 12, 2016
UPDATE: ABC News reports that the shooter has been identified by officials as Omar Mateen of St. Lucie County, Florida. The FBI assistant agent in charge of the agency’s Tampa division, Ron Hopper, was asked at a news conference on Sunday at 7 a.m. if the shooter, who was shot and killed by police, had ties to Jihadist terror groups.
“At this time we’re looking at all angles right now. We do have suggestions that that individual may have leanings towards that, that particular ideology. But right now we can’t say definitively, so we’re still running everything around.”
(via USA Today)