50 people have been killed and at least 53 injured in an apparent terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning.
The suspect was shot and killed by law enforcement, according to Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
Mina said the attack was a “possible act of terrorism.” The shooter, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, from Port St. Lucie, was a U.S. citizen, but according to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, much of his family was not. Though Grayson would not say where he was from, other media outlets are reporting Afganistan.
According to ABC News, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said it could be classified as an act of domestic terrorism.Following that, FBI agent Ron Hopper told media outlets Sunday morning that the suspect, “may have leanings toward extreme Islamic ideologies.”
The shooting began around 2 A.M. and an officer responded to the call immediately, engaged Mateen outside the club and the two exchanged shots before Mateen fled back into the club, setting off the hostage situation.
The officers then raided the club at 5 A.M. where they rescued approximately 30 hostages. Maneen was reportedly carrying an assault rifle, a handgun and a “device,” according to Mina.
President Obama is being kept up to date on the investigation.
“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,” according to Press Secretary Josh Earnest
This is the second Islamic-linked terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the December 2015 San Bernardino attack.
Authorities said this shooting was well organized and believed it was planned out well in advance. It is also taking place during pride week, which maximizes the number of LGBTQ individuals in Orlando.