The suspected Islamic terrorist opened fire inside Pulse nightclub between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. this morning. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said “approximately 20” were killed and another 42 were taken to the hospital.
Law-enforcement sources told CBS News the gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen from Port St. Lucie, a city approximately 120 miles southeast of Orlando. Mateen was a U.S. citizen born to Afghan parents in 1986. The gunman was believed to have “leanings toward radical Islamic terrorism.”
See video here: http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/muslim-extremist-massacres-20-at-gay-night-club/
Approximately 320 people were in the nightclub when shooting and hostage situation unfolded. Mina said about 30 hostages were “saved during the rescue.” Nine officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, with one officer sustaining a minor eye injury after a bullet struck his Kevlar helmet.
The massacre took place less than four miles from where The Voice singer Christina Grimmie, 22, was shot dead on Friday.
The club’s Facebook page warned: “Everybody get out of Pulse and keep running.”
Kenneth Melendez was at the club with his friends when the shooting happened. He said four of his friends were shot and were treated at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“It’s just something that you see in the movies but never think would happen to you,” he said. “At first, when I heard the shots I thought it was part of the music, but then we realized it was really happening. I started running and saw someone bleeding from the arm and I was like wow this is really happening and I kept running.”
He said he went to Pulse often because it was a “safe environment where you could express yourself. Not anymore.”
June is the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In an Arabic message released online, purportedly from ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, further attacks were urged against the West during Ramadan.
The State Department-led Overseas Security Advisory Council report reads that “martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some,” and has asked U.S. organizations to “remain aware of the persistent threat of (ISIS) attacks, both inspired and directed,” according to published reports.
“The terrorism risk at the moment is generally high,” the report cautioned.
ISIS reportedly cheered the Orlando massacre and promised to “slay everyone of you O disbeliever.”
“Tonight our community witnessed or experienced a very horrific crime,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told media near the scene Sunday morning. “Many lives were lost, and many more individuals were impacted by witnessing the crime.”
Authorities said there is no indication of future attacks in Florida or across the nation.
Article will be updated as events unfold.