A horrific mass shooting at a local gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead, and over 40 others wounded, is being considered a “domestic act of terror”, according to police officials.
This incident comes only two days after a 22-year-old former contestant on “The Voice” was shot and killed at her meet-and-greet event in the same Florida town.
Our prayers are with all the surviving victims, and the loved ones of those lost. It is more than evident that gun control is a serious issue in our country.
A mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that police are calling a “domestic terror incident” has left approximately 20 people dead and at least 42 injured.
Authorities say a gunman stormed the downtown Pulse nightclub around 2 a.m. Sunday before opening fire and taking dozens of people hostage.
“Our SWAT officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect. The suspect is dead,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference. “He appeared to be carrying a rifle, an assault-type rifle and a handgun and had some type of device on him.”
The suspect has only been identified as someone who was “not from this area” and “was organized and well-prepared,” the FBI said, according to ABC News.
FBI agent Ron Hopper said the suspect may have leanings toward extreme Islamic ideologies, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Around 5 a.m., authorities made the decision to rescue the hostages, leading to gunfire exchange that ended in the suspect’s death, Mina said.
“We are investigating this from all points of perspective as an act of terrorism,” said Special Agent Danny Banks, who’s in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Anytime we have potentially dozens of victims in any of our communities then I think we can qualify that as terrorism activity. Whether that is domestic terrorism activity or an international one is certainly something that we will get to the bottom of.”
Witnesses have recalled hearing a barrage of gunfire at the start of the violence. The dance club urged patrons to “get out” and “keep running” in a post on its Facebook page.
Javer Antonetti, 53, told the Sentinel that he was near the back of the dance club when he heard the gunfire.
“There were so many [shots], at least 40,” he said. “I saw two guys and it was constant, like ‘pow, pow, pow.’”
Police said they had carried out a “controlled explosion” at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not say why that was done. They described the scene as a “fluid situation.”
Video posted online showed a large number of police and emergency vehicles outside the nightclub. Bomb-sniffing dogs were also on the scene, CNN reported.
It was the second deadly shooting at an Orlando night spot in as many nights. Late Friday, a man thought to be a troubled fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star and a former contestant on “The Voice,” while she was signing autographs after a concert in the Florida city.
There was an outpouring of support from the community as they took in the morning’s horrors.