It is now classified as the biggest mass murder in U.S. history. A lone gunman walked into an Orlando, FL nightclub and began shooting, killing at least 50 and wounding over 50 more. The Pulse nightclub is a gay establishment and according to authorities the shooter, identified as Omar Mateen, was well prepared and planned the attack.
Police in Orlando are calling it an act of terror, but as of yet a motive hasn’t been connected to the shooting.
Although the killer’s father told NBC news the killing didn’t involve religion, authorities now believe Mateen has pledged his support to ISIS before carrying the mass murder. They said he made a 911 call pledging his support to the terror group.
Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, said Mateen had become enraged after seeing two men kissing in Miami.
According to Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Mateen was shot and killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages in the nightclub. He was armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and unspecified “devices.” Once the police arrived on the scene the shooter engaged in an extended gun battle with the police.
Mateen was born to Afghan parents in New York City, and the family moved to Port St. Lucie in Florida.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer hel a press conference Sunday and told the media their first priority was to identify all the victims.Dyer said the because of the magnitude of the killing, he asked the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, to declare a state of emergency.
California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (28th Dist.) said, “The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIS leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT nightclub during Pride (month) and, if accurate, that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS, indicates an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism.”
President Obama called it an act of terrorism, but didn’t link it to any specific terrorist organizations. It is also being labeled as a hate crime since it appears the gunman targeted gays.
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In an incident indirectly related to the killing in Orlando, a man was stopped by police early Sundat morning afer residents in a neighborhood called 911 to complain about a suspicious man knocking on doors and prowling through the neighborhood.
The man had an automobile, a white Acura, with Indiana license plates. Inside the car were several weapons and a lot of ammunition, plus material that could be used to make small bombs, called tannerite.
When questioned the man said he was on his way to the gay pride parade that will be taking place in West Hollywood later today.
Authorities don’t know what this mans intentions were, but have him under arrest at this time.
The Gay Pride parade took place as planned, but security had been heightened for the event. Many at the parade expressed sorrow for the victims in Orlando and said they were marching for them.
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UPDATE: Authorities have now started identifying the victims. They released four names so far: Edward Sotomayor Jr., Stanley Almodovar III, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, and Juan Ramon Guerrero.
Members of the Baltimore Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this arricle.
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