Details on the attacker and final number of victims still unknown.
A gunman opened fire inside club Pulse, one of the main LGBT venues in Orlando, Florida, at 2 AM on Sunday morning. The attack left some 20 people dead and more than 40 injured.
More than 100 people were inside the club for a Latin-themed party when the gunman entered and began firing at the ceiling and into the crowd. An on-duty officer at the club returned fire and the attack then descended into a hostage situation that was eventually resolved in the early hours of the morning after a SWAT team stormed the club to attempt a rescue of those remaining inside.
The police broke through a wall of the venue with an armored vehicle and explosives and rescued some 30 hostages. They also killed the attacker, whom they say had an assault rifle, handgun and “some kind of device” on him and in his car, according to The Guardian.
Located in downtown Orlando, Pulse is one of the city’s premier LGBT venue. Staff posted a message on the club’s Facebook page shortly after the attack began telling everyone to “get out and keep running.” Club goers who experienced the attack replied to the message and gave first hand accounts of the situation. Others took to Twitter.
can’t explain what happened. I was there with a nurse for her bday. Guy in vest startsshooting. She got hit in shoulder. We ran out back
— John PA (@lakecitymedman) June 12, 2016
— Nic Hornstein (@nichornstein) June 12, 2016
Local police have yet to confirm a final death toll and say they are treating the attack as an “act of domestic terrorism.” Further press conferences and updates are planned on Sunday morning.
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
The attack at club Pulse comes just over a day after another shooting at a music event in Orlando. On Friday night, a gunman shot and killed The Voice singer Christina Grimmie while she signed autographs after a small event in town.
That attacker has since been identified as Kevin James Loibl, a 26-year-old from St Petersburg, Florida. He killed himself in the ensuing struggle to stop him.
The story is developing.