The shooting incident began at 2AM with approximately 320 people in the club.
It is officially the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Mateen — who was armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and a handgun, according to Orlando’s police chief — entered Pulse club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and began shooting. After most of the 320 people there escaped, Mateen took hostages from a group that was hiding in a bathroom. Shortly before 6 a.m., a SWAT unit breached the club and engaged Mateen in what’s being called a protracted gun battle. Mateen was killed.
The police classified the attack as a “terror incident. The police and the federal authorities said they were pursuing several angles in the terrorism investigation, both overseas and in the United States.
The shooting was clearly a hate crime meant to target LGBT people, and is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
NBC News reports:
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that Mateen was born in New York in 1986 and was listed as living at a residence in Port St. Lucie, about 125 miles south of Orlando. The incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism, officials said.
Mir Seddique, Mateen’s father told NBC News, “this has nothing to do with religion.” Seddique 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.
According to CNN, the terrorist called 911 about the attack, pledged allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston bombers, according to a U.S. official.
Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization is collecting contributions via a GoFundMe page to support the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Please contribute and share this page.
We are reeling from the tragic news that a gunman opened fire on the 2am capacity crowd at Pulse leaving 20 people dead and 42 injured according to preliminary reports. We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country.
Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. June commemorates our community standing up to anti-LGBTQ violence at the Stonewall Inn, the nightclub that has become the first LGBTQ site recognized as a national monument.
We have received a steady stream of emails and messages from those seeking to help or to make sense of the senseless. We make no assumptions on motive. We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger. We stand in solidarity and keep our thoughts on all whose lives have been lost or altered forever in this tragedy.
President Barack Obama will address the nation about the terror attack in Orlando at 1:30pmET from the White House briefing room.
BREAKING: "There are 50 casualties" in Orlando mass shooting, @orlandomayor says https://t.co/J54RiATgwT https://t.co/qDCFEuIuqh— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2016