Tragedy. A massive shooting at popular Orlando gay nightclub Pulse left 50 people dead and 53 hospitalized on Sunday, June 12.
The shooting, which began around 2 a.m., has been labeled a possible “act of domestic terrorism,” and has thus far been determined unrelated to the shooting death of Voice alum Christina Grimmie one night earlier.
“It appears he was organized and well prepared,” Orlando police chief John Mina said at a morning news conference, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of device” on him at the time.
Shortly after shots were being fired in the nightclub, Pulse posted a note to its website that read, “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” The venue was packed with about 320 people at the time of the shooting, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“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,” Ricardo Negron Almodovar posted on the club’s Facebook page. “I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.”
Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the shooting lasted the duration of an entire song.
Mina said during the press conference that officers called to the scene exchanged gunfire with the suspect and shot him dead just before 6 a.m. after using an armored vehicle to blast through a wall.
Various other agencies also responded, including a SWAT team, to help save the people who were trapped inside the club as gunfire rang out.
“Our biggest concern was future loss of life,” he said. “We want to save those people.”
The FBI is also currently involved with the investigation. Police have yet to positively identify the suspect and motivation behind the shooting. When asked whether the shooter had ties to radical Islamic terrorism, Mina said there were “suggestions that the individual might have leanings toward that ideology.”
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