50 people killed in mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando
At least 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire and took hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.
The shooter, identified by several law enforcement sources as Omar Mateen, 29, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement after a three-hour siege.
The massacre — the worst mass shooting in the history of the US — began when the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m. ET wielding an assault rifle and a pistol, officials said.
Law enforcement authorities said that Mateen stormed the club and called 911 from inside to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State and he was heard shouting "Allah Akbar" while engaging officers. The gunman had been investigated in the past for possible terrorist ties, but the F.B.I. ultimately found no evidence.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack Sunday afternoon via its Amaq news agency, Reuters reported. Amaq said an "Islamic State fighter" carried out the assault. However, it was not clear if the shooting was actually directed by the terror group or only inspired by it.
"We know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate," President Obama said in a speech from the White House on Sunday, cautioning that it was still early in the investigation.
Pulse posted on its own Facebook page around 2 a.m.: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running." It's owner later said in statement that she was "devastated by the horrific events that have taken place today.”