Police assemble during the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, June 11, 2016. | Photo from Orlando Police
Police have confirmed that at least 50 people were killed in an Orlando mass shooting on Saturday night, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
According to CNN the gunman went to Pulse, a gay nightclub, armed with what police say was an assault rifle, a handgun and possibly an explosive device around 2 a.m. After engaging in a shootout with police outside of the club, the gunman went inside the building, where he took patrons as hostages.
Police then used an armored vehicle to break down the door, which helped more than 30 people leave the club safely. They then shot and killed the gunman, who police have identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen from Fort Pierce, Fla. In an interview with NBC News, Mateen’s father said his son was angry after seeing two men kiss in Miami.
With 50 people dead and 53 people injured, the attack is the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Before this weekend, the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history were Virginia Tech in 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Those two attacks each left 32 and 27 people dead.
Reports from the AP and New York Times say that authorities are investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism, though whether it was an act of domestic or international terror is unclear. Police are also investigating to see if the shooter had any partners in coordinating or carrying out the attack.
Saturday night’s shooting happens nearly midway through LGBT Pride Month, which is held every June to remember the Stonewall riots in Manhattan from 1969. The series of demonstrations is seen as the catalyst of the gay liberation movement in the United States.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 12, 2016