A shooting occured early this morning in Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse. Around 50 are reported dead, with 53 more hospitalized, making this the deadliest mass shooting to occur on American soil. At 2 AM, shooter Omar Mateen stormed the club with an assault rifle. He opened fire on the nearly 300 people inside, killing many and holding others hostage. At 5 AM, police managed to storm the building with an armored vehicle, helping the remainder of the hostages escape. After clearing the bulding, 9 police officers were caught in a shootout with the attacker. Only one officer was minorly wounded before they managed to kill the attacker. Authorities are investigating whether or not this was an act of terror, as police on the scene say they have reason to believe that Omar Mateen may have been connected to the Islamic State, but they cannot say definitively. No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State has made a post gloating about it. Police are going through the attackers computer to attempt to find a motive.
Many of the injured have yet to be found by their loved ones, as hospitals nearby were quickly overwhelmed and put on lockdown. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida is offering grief counseling to survivors.
Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of this attack, as well as all of our friends and loved ones in Orlando.
By Robert Cocanougher / Editor in Chief