Orlando, FL-Fifty people including the gunman died in the worst massacre attack in U.S history in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub early Sunday and more than 50 others were wounded. Orlando Police Chief John Mina told an early-morning press conference that gunman Omar Mateen had holed up in a bathroom with hostages after an initial shootout with police. “He really wasn’t asking for a whole lot,” Mina said. “We were doing most of the asking.” There was talk of “bombs and explosives” plus a reference to ISIS, according to Mina.
He said that once information from hostages and the suspect suggested “further loss of life was imminent,” a decision was taken for SWAT to breach the wall of the club.
Mateen was armed with an assault-style weapon and a pistol. A third weapon was found in his car, authorities said. Law enforcement sources earlier told NBC News that Mateen swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS in a 911 call moments before the rampage at Pulse.
However, law enforcement officials have said there was not yet any indication Mateen was in touch with terrorists overseas or that the attack was directed by anyone else.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed he had asked President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in wake of the shooting.
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another,” Mr. Obama said in a special address from the White House. “We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united as Americans to protect our people and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”
A full list of names of victims still pending.