50 killed, 53 injured in Orlando

50 killed, 53 injured in Orlando

A gunman killed 50 people at a packed nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday and wounded 53 others before being killed by police in the worst mass shooting in US history.

The shooter was identified as Omar S Mateen, a Florida resident who a senior FBI official said might have had leanings towards Islamic State militants. Officials called the rampage a “terrorism incident,” but cautioned that the suspected Islamist connection required further investigation.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the attack was the deadliest single US shooting incident, eclipsing the 32 people killed in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech university.

“Today we’re dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable,” Dyer said, more than doubling an earlier estimate that about 20 bodies were found in the Pulse nightclub. A police officer working as a security guard inside the club, which has operated in downtown Orlando since 2004 and was a popular hangout for homosexuals, exchanged fire with the suspect at about 2 am (0600 GMT), police officials said.

A hostage situation quickly developed, and three hours later SWAT team officers used armored cars to storm the club before shooting dead the gunman. It was unclear when the gunman killed the victims.

One officer was injured after he was hit in his helmet while exchanging fire with the gunman, police said. Read more.

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