Approximately 20 killed and 42 injured after a gunman opened fire and took hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said early Sunday. Officials said a hostage situation developed after the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m. “We are looking at probably in the range of 20 [dead], but we don’t want to give you an exact figure,”Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
The gunman was shot dead about three hours later when a SWAT team entered the club NBC reports. “It’s appears he was organized and well-prepared,” the chief said, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
The preliminary assessment: the incident “could definitely be classified as domestic terrorism,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. Police have shot and killed the gunman, Mina told reporters.
Orlando police warned residents to stay away from the area, and urged people not to call their offices. They declined to provide the number of casualties, saying details will be available later. Bomb sniffing dogs are on the scene.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer added that “many lives were lost.”
According to Reuters, officers said in a Twitter message that there were “multiple injuries” at the Pulse nightclub and local media reported that between seven and 20 people had been shot. The dance club urged patrons to “get out” and “keep running” in a post on its Facebook page. Police have not confirmed if there were any other people killed or the specific number of injuries.
Written by Tyler Durden