Gunman dead in ‘mass casualty’ shooting at Florida gay club
The shooter in a “mass casualty” situation in which as many as 20 people were shot, and a controlled explosion took place, has died.
The city, best known for the Disney theme parks is home to gay venue, the Pulse Club.
Police detonated a controlled explosion at the scene, and later confirmed that the gunman had died.
UPDATE: Approximately 20 dead, gunman used assault rifle in “mass shooting”, FBI appeals for witnesses in “terrorist incident”
The nightclub posted on its Facebook page: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running”.
Orlando Police Department tweeted that the shooter had died, but it is currently unclear how he died.
An eyewitness told WESH that he was in the hospital when they brought people in and that there was “blood everywhere”. The friend of someone in the club at the time of the shooting said that there were “bodies everywhere”.
Dozens of family members and friends were out in the street and at the hospital attempting to find out information on their loved ones.
Police, the FBI and the Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, are to brief the media at 07:00, local time.
The Orlando Police Department called for witnesses to come to speak with them, tweeting: “Anyone who was at Pulse nightclub and was a witness Please come to the Orlando Police HQ, 100 S. Hughey Ave.”
Adding: “Any information you have could aid investigators in this case.”
Police are arranging a bus to take the witnesses away from the scene to speak with them.
Despite no information being readily available on a motive of the shooter, a witness at the #Pulse #Orlando shooting said: “Wake up – we are just like you – why kill us?” … “just let us live”
“This happens every day – not only trans, not only LGBT – we all get killed every day – WHY? Because you’re afraid of what you don’t understand and you reject the unfamiliar.”
WESH, local news agency, reports that various eyewitnesses suggest that there were multiple shooters, but this is unconfirmed.
Police had previously tweeted that the situation is a “mass casualty” incident. The number of those shot and the number of deceased has not yet been confirmed.
Bomb squad and hazardous material team were on the scene. A controlled explosion was heard on the scene at around 05:08, local time, EDT.
After shots were fired, the police scanner suggested that an officer was injured.
Ricardo Negron Almodovar who was there posted: “Shooter opened fire @ around 2:00am. People on the dance floor and bar got down on the floor and some of us who were near the bar and back exit managed to go out through the outdoor area and just ran. I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.”
He told Sky News: “People have definitely been injured – or worse.”
A second man, Anthony Torres, was heard shouting that others had died in the club.
(Photo: Brett Moots)
Video footage on social media has shown police and ambulance crews on the scene.
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More footage showed dozens of shots being fired.
A local TV anchor, Stewart Moore tweeted that 20 people had been shot.
At 06:07, victims of the shooting were still being evacuated from the scene.
Homophobes have already praised the shooting.
Another Twitter user, @Jared17Smith, wrote: “I wonder how much of the splattered blood in #Pulse is HIV+”.
On Friday, The Voice star Christina Grimmie was shot dead by a fan at her concert. She was 22.
This is a breaking news story. More will follow on PinkNews.