Miami police are now calling last nights attack at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub the worst shooting in American history.
Just after 2:00 am a lone gunman killed 49 people and injured at least 53 others after opening fire at a gay nightclub.
Authorities say the killer identified as Omar Mateen stormed the downtown Pulse nightclub with a handgun and an AR-15-type assault rifle taking dozens of people hostage and killing dozens more.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference that SWAT officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, killing Mateen. Mina said Mateen...
“appeared to be carrying a rifle, an assault-type rifle and a handgun and had some type of device on him.”
The FBI said, according to ABC News. Mateen, of Fort Pierce, Florida,
“was organized and well-prepared,”
FBI agent Ron Hopper said Mateen may have had leanings toward extreme Islamic ideologies, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Despite being questioned by the FBI in 2013 for suspected terrorist ties, then again in 2014, Mateen was still able to purchased two guns — a handgun and a “long gun” — approximately a week before the shooting, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The type of gun Mateen used is the same legally obtainable weapon used in the Newtown massacre, the Colorado theater shooting and the San Bernardino shooting, in which 14 people were killed.
Hours after the shooting, President Barack Obama publicly addressed the nation about the tragedy, saying it was an “especially heartbreaking day” for the LGBTQ community.
“The place where they were attacked was more than a nightclub, it was a place of solidarity and empowerment,” for the LGBTQ community.
Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, which advocates for gay and lesbian rights statewide, said in a statement.
“We have received a steady stream of emails and messages from those seeking to help or to make sense of the senseless. We make no assumptions on motive. We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger. We stand in solidarity and keep our thoughts on all whose lives have been lost or altered forever in this tragedy,”
Imam Muhammad Musri, who leads the Islamic Society of Central Florida, asked for prayers for the families of the victims.
“No one could have predicted this, no one could have prepared for it,” he said on Sunday. “This could have happened anywhere. It’s like lightning ... Whatever faith you follow please pray for the victims and their families in this hour, in this Sunday morning.”
Equality Florida set up a GoFundMe account for the victims of the shooting. The donation page had raised more than $800,000 as of Sunday afternoon.