- Shooting at Florida gay nightclub in Orlando
- Omar Saddiqui guMateen has been identified as the gunman behind the incident
- Another 53 people were killed when the police shot the suspect and rescued the club-goers inside
A gunman behind the worst mass shooting in US history that left 50 people dead at an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub has reportedly been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent.
The early Sunday attack ended when police stormed the Pulse nightclub, fatally shooting the suspect and rescuing club-goers trapped inside. Another 53 people were wounded.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Sunday that a state of emergency has been declared.
An FBI official said the mass shooting is being investigated as an “act of terrorism.”
The White House issued a statement indicating President Barack Obama has been briefed by his counterterrorism and homeland security advisor and has asked to receive regular updates. The statement said the president ordered the federal government to provide investigators with “any assistance necessary.” It also said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims.”
On the gay club’s Facebook page, a post around 2 a.m. gave early indication of the tragedy that was unfolding.
“Everyone get out of pulse,” a page administrator wrote, “and keep running.
Why the club was targeted remains unclear. The shooting comes as many cities around the world celebrate June as LGBT Pride Month. The mass shooting follows another grim night in Orlando. Singer Christina Grimmie, a 22-year-old YouTube star and one-time contestant of the TV talent show “The Voice,” was fatally shot by a man during a meet-and-greet session with fans outside her concert in the same city Friday night. (VOA)