12-04-2016  6:27 pm      •     
An injured person is escorted out of the Pulse nightclub after a shooting rampage, Sunday morning June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, killing at least 50 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (AP Photo/Steven Fernandez)

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the shooting at an Orlando nightclub (all times local):

9:00 p.m.
The ex-wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman says he was "mentally unstable and mentally ill."
Sitora Yusifiy, speaking to reporters in Boulder, Colorado, says Omar Mateen was bipolar and also had a history with steroids.

She says that in the four months they were together he cut her off from her family and regularly beat her. She says that her family visited her and saw she wasn't OK and rescued her from the situation.

Yusifiy says they literally pulled her out of his arms. She says she left all her belongings and has had no contact with him for seven or eight years.

She says Mateen was religious, but she saw no signs of radicalism.

Of the nightclub massacre she says, "there was no sign of any of this at all."

8:50 p.m.

Officials have started removing bodies from inside an Orlando nightclub where 50 people were shot and killed.

Sunday night, workers brought four bodies on stretchers out of club Pulse and loaded them into white vans. The action was repeated over and over.

The bodies were then taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner's office.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire at the nightclub, killing 50 people and wounding more than 50 others before he was gunned down by police.


7 p.m.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee tells The Associated Press that investigators have not yet found evidence of direct communication between the Orlando nightclub gunman and Islamic State members overseas.

Rep. Adam Schiff has been briefed multiple times by federal law enforcement. He says it is possible that Omar Mateen was self-radicalized but not "under the command and control of ISIS."

The California congressman says that could change and that it's too early to know whether there was something that could have been done to prevent the attack.

The FBI investigated Mateen in 2013 after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists. The following year, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria.

He was cleared after both investigations.
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6:40 p.m.

Seattle's openly gay Mayor Ed Murray says that every time progress is made in the U.S., there's a blow back and an increase in gay lesbian bisexual transgender violence.

Murray made the remarks Sunday after a gunman slaughtered 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Murray says the massacre is absolutely an attempt at intimidation and fear. He says the community will come together and will not be intimidated.
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The father of the Orlando nightclub gunman has a television show on Payam-e-Afghan, a California-based channel that supports ethnic solidarity with the Afghan Taliban, which are mostly Pashtun.

Viewers from Pashtun communities in the United States regularly call in to espouse support for Pashtun domination of Afghanistan over the nation's minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks.

Seddique Mateen's "Durand Jirga Show" has an anti-Pakistan slant. The name of the show references the Durand line, the long-disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A former Afghan official said Seddique Mateen's show also expresses sympathy for the Taliban, complains about foreigners in Afghanistan and criticizes U.S. actions there. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.

Seddique Mateen, who lavished praise on current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when he appeared on the TV program in January 2014, has since denounced the Ghani government. The official said that on Saturday, Seddique Mateen, dressed in military fatigues, used his program to criticize the current Afghan government and announce that he would run in the next Afghan presidential election.
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6:10 p.m.

A woman whose cousin was shot at a gay Orlando nightclub says he is in critical condition at a hospital. LaToya Hall says her cousin Keon Carter was in the Pulse club early Sunday when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others. Hall says her cousin is alert at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She says he tried to hold her hand and turn his eyes to look at her. Hall says many people are having trouble locating victims because they are being listed under fake names.

 

5:20 p.m.

American Muslim leaders are condemning the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded more than 50 others.
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the killings a hate crime and said the group has no tolerance for extremism of any kind. A law enforcement official has said the gunman, Omar Mateen, called 911 from the nightclub and expressed allegiance to an Islamic State leader.  Awad says members of the LGBT community have stood with Muslims in the past and today they stand that community.

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TNT has postponed the season premiere of "The Last Ship" in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.

 

The show, which stars Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra and Adam Baldwin, is about a group of people who've survived a pandemic that killed 80 percent of the world's population.

The network says in a statement that its hearts are with the victims and their families.

4:50 p.m.

 About 100 people gathered in Paris for a spontaneous vigil at Place Igor Stravinsky to remember those slain and wounded at an Orlando nightclub.
Several people were draped in rainbow flags. They lit candles and took pictures as a person in head-to-toe fetish gear held up a sign saying "Proud." One woman carried a poster showing a ribbon with a rainbow on one side and an American flag on the other.

"To Orlando, we have love," it read.

Remi Perrenoud, 30, said the news hit him particularly hard because, like the victims, he had been out partying at a gay club Saturday night.

Ian Brossat, the capital's deputy mayor for housing, was at the vigil too. He says it seems important to mobilize to voice solidarity and to underline the fight against homophobia.
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The Orlando mayor says of the 50 victims who died from the shooting at a gay nightclub, 39 were killed at the club and 11 people died at hospitals.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says at first officers mistakenly thought the gunman had strapped explosives to the dead victims and that the club was boob-trapped. A bomb robot sent back images of a battery part next to a body.
Dyer says that held up paramedics from going in until it was determined it was something that fell out of an exit sign or a smoke detector.

The robot was sent in after SWAT team members put explosive charges on a wall and an armored vehicle knocked the wall down in an effort to rescue hostages.

 

4:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the gunman who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub made a 911 call from the club, professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The law enforcement official is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and wounding more than 50 others before he was gunned down by police.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Authorities were investigating the attack on the Florida dance club as an act of terrorism.


4:20 p.m.
A former Afghan official says the father of the Orlando nightclub gunman is a native of Afghanistan who appears on a television program known for "its anti-US tirades" and "pro-Taliban" remarks.
The official says the gunman's father is Seddique Mateen and that the program is broadcast in the Dari language. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.
Mateen is the father of Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed 50 people at the nightclub.
The official said Seddique Mateen's "Durand Jirga Show" is anti-Pakistan. The name of the show references the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Seddique Mateen campaigned in the United States for current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who appeared on his program in 2014. The program's studio has an address in Fort Pierce, Florida.
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Afghanistan's president says he "strongly condemns" the attack on a Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement Sunday that "targeting civilians is not justifiable under any circumstances whatsoever." He offered his condolences to President Barack Obama, the American people and the families of the victims.

Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also offered his condolences.
Shooter Omar Mateen was born in New York. His ex-wife told The Washington Post that Mateen's family was from Afghanistan. The family later moved to Florida.
The ex-wife is not named in the Post report.

4:05 p.m.
The FBI says agents twice investigated the man who killed 50 people inside a gay nightclub, but closed those cases after interviewing him.
FBI agent Ronald Hopper said Sunday that Omar Mateen had been interviewed in 2013 and 2014. Hopper said agents first investigated Mateen after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists.
Mateen was interviewed twice and, when investigators were unable to verify the details of his comments, the FBI closed the probe.
In 2014, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Like Mateen, Abusalha lived in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Hopper says agents determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time.
Mateen was 29 years old and born in New York. The FBI says he referred to the Islamic State in a 911 call before the slayings.
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4:05 p.m.
Organizers of Denver's PrideFest, which holds a parade and rally that has attracted hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in past years, is going ahead with their festival next weekend amid heavy security following the shooting deaths of at least 50 people inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday.
Organizer Debra Pollock says parade and rally participants in Denver have always been security-conscious, but members of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado have also received training on how to deal with active-shooter situations.
Pollock says the organizers will have metal detectors and fences set up at Civic Center Park for the rally, and there will also be security on the parade route and people will be searched as in past years.

3:45 p.m.
The city of Orlando is publishing the names of those killed in a massacre at a gay nightclub on its website after their families have been contacted.
As of 3:45 p.m. Sunday, the list had four names. Fifty people were killed.

Shooter Omar Mateen was killed; his name is not on the list.

Fifty-three more were hospitalized.

The city's website includes the #PrayforOrlando hashtag and says officials are "working tirelessly" to get information to families.
The list can be found at http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/

2:55 p.m.

People who were inside the gay Florida nightclub where 50 people were killed are describing a scene of mass chaos.

Two men who were in Club Pulse discussed the Sunday massacre in Facebook chats with The Associated Press.

Orlando resident Brand White was shot. He says, "We are dancing and all of a sudden it just started like a rolling thunder, loud and everything went black."

 

The 30-year-old was with his cousin, who mentioned something about "a guy with a bomb." After that, White says, his memory is fuzzy; he said he doesn't recall leaving the club or who took him to the hospital.

White was shot in the shoulder. He spoke to The AP as he was being monitored at a hospital. He said he received a blood transfusion.

His cousin was unaccounted for — no one had heard from him as of 2:45 p.m.

Another man, Brett Rigas, says he and his partner were dancing when they heard shots. Rigas was shot in the arm and hid behind a bar. About five minutes later, authorities came in and told everyone to put their hands up and run out.

Rigas said he saw bodies as he ran out.

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2:45 p.m.

The suspected Orlando nightclub gunman had been licensed as a private security officer in Florida.

State records show suspected shooter Omar Mateen held the firearms license since at least 2011. It was set to expire in September 2017.

It wasn't immediately clear where, if anywhere, Mateen had worked as a security officer. An armed guard license in Florida requires 28 hours of classroom training by a licensed instructor.

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2:35 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is cutting short a visit to Beijing for cybersecurity meetings with Chinese officials and returning to the United States to monitor developments in the nightclub shooting investigation.

Lynch says the Justice Department, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is supporting the investigation.

She says in a statement that she's gotten updates from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey.

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2:35 p.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel stands "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.

Netanyahu said Sunday that "on behalf of the people and government of Israel, I extend our deepest condolences to the American people following last night's horrific attack on the LGBT community in Orlando."

He wished "heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims" and "full and speedy recovery to the wounded."

The Orlando attack dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. On Wednesday two Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded five others in Tel Aviv.

LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.

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2:25 p.m.

Police departments across the country are increasing patrols near locations frequented by the LGBT community after a gunman killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

In Los Angeles, the mayor says a heavily armed person who was headed to a gay pride parade had been arrested by Santa Monica police. Mayor Eric Garcetti says the arrest was completely unrelated to the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Officer Ernesto Rodriguez of Miami Beach Police Department says the agency is saddened by the massacre and out of an abundance of caution will step up patrols. Boston Pride organizers plan to hold a moment of silence at this weekend's scheduled block parties to honor the Orlando victims and police there said there will be a heavier presence at those events.

The Baltimore Police Department says it is reaching out to the city's LBGT community to discuss concerns and safety after the Orlando massacre.

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2:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the worst mass shooting in U.S. history is a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a weapon that allows them to shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, a movie theater or a gay nightclub.

Speaking from the White House, Obama says the United States has to decide if that is the "country we want to be." He says that doing nothing is a decision as well.

The shooting has thrust the topic of gun control back into focus as a presidential election nears.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has called for expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and online purchases, and for reinstating a ban on assault weapons. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said the existing background check system should be fixed, not expanded, and that assault-weapons bans do not work.

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2:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings until sunset Thursday "as a mark of respect for victims of the act of hatred and terror" at a gay Florida nightclub.

He's also directing the same observance at embassies and other U.S. government facilities abroad.

Obama addressed the nation Sunday, calling the shooting "an act of terror" and an "act of hate."

Fifty were killed, including the shooter, and 53 more hospitalized.

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2:15 p.m.

Donald Trump isn't pausing his political commentary for the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolding in Florida.

It was unclear whether the shooter who killed at least 50 people in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub was associated with a radical religious organization. President Barack Obama addressed the nation, calling the shooting "an act of terror" and an "act of hate."

Trump tweeted as Obama began speaking: "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!"

A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that the shooter in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub was known to the FBI before the incident and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.

The official spoke to The Associated Press Sunday about the shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and on spoke on condition of anonymity.

— AP Writer Eric Tucker in Washington

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2:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the nightclub shooting in Orlando was an "act of terror" and an "act of hate."

He said Sunday that the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism and that no effort will be spared to determine whether the shooter was affiliated with terrorist groups.

Obama is speaking at the White House after 50 people were killed overnight at a nightclub in Florida. Officials have said 53 more are hospitalized.

Obama is noting that the killer targeted a gay nightclub. He says it's a "sobering reminder" that an attack on any American is an attack "on all of us."

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2 p.m.

A bartender who was working at the Orlando nightclub when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others says at first she thought the gunshots were music.

But after a second shot there was a pause, and then more shots and Tiffany Johnson realized something was wrong.

Johnson says people dropped to the ground and started running out of the Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning. She ran to a fast-food restaurant across the street and met one of her customers who let her get in his car and they drove away.

Johnson says her first instinct was to get somewhere safe.

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2 p.m.

Sunday evening's Tony Awards have been dedicated to those affected by the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed at least 50 people.

In a statement Sunday, the Tony Awards said "our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy." The awards, it said, will be dedicated to the friends and family of those affected by the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.

Organizers didn't say how the evening's broadcast would be affected. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of "Hamilton" — expected to be the night's big winner — tweeted a rainbow-colored heart with "Orlando" written beneath it.

The Tonys are to be hosted by late-night host James Corden.

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1:40 p.m.

The Vatican says Pope Francis is expressing the "deepest feelings of horror and condemnation" over a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says the pontiff denounces the "homicidal folly and senseless hatred."

He added that Francis joins the families of victims and injured in the Sunday massacre in "prayer and compassion."

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1:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the shooter in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub was known to the FBI before the incident and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.

The official spoke to The Associated Press Sunday about the shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and on spoke on condition of anonymity.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen of Florida. The official says the matter for which Mateen came under investigation was "open and closed pretty quickly."

Other details about the matter weren't immediately available.

—AP reporter Eric Tucker in Washington

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1:20 p.m.

Hundreds of people in Orlando have lined up to give blood to help the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub.

Officials at OneBlood say they have received such an overwhelming response that they are now asking donors to come back over the next several days. More than 50 people were injured and 50 were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning.

In the hours after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, officials urged people to donate blood to help the victims.

In December, the nation's three-decade-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men was formally lifted, but there are still major restrictions to limit who can give blood. The Food and Drug Administration said it replaced the lifetime ban with a new policy barring donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.

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12:45 p.m.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says law enforcement officials and the intelligence community are checking to see what information they had on the shooter prior to the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub.

Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack "painfully reminiscent" of the November shootings at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris.

He says in a statement, "This morning, I will be marching in the West Hollywood Pride Parade with a heavy heart, but we will march in solidarity with all those who are the victims of terrorism and hatred."

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12:30 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub "heartwrenching" and says first responders who went into the building knowing there was an active shooter are heroic.

He spoke Sunday afternoon at a news conference, hours after 50 people were killed. Officials have said 53 more are hospitalized.

Scott urged people to donate blood. He says officials are doing everything they can.

He says: "This is clearly an act of terrorism. It's sickening. It should make every American angry."

Officials have said they're investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

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12:25 p.m.

Law enforcement officials are beefing up security for a LGBT pride festival in Washington, D.C., after a deadly shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement that she has been briefed by police Chief Cathy Lanier about increased security measures ahead of Sunday's Capital Pride Festival.

DC Police tweeted that festivalgoers should expect extra police presence Sunday.

Bowser said Washingtonians "will not be deterred by hate as we gather to celebrate love."

Festival organizers said that there will be moment of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting at 1 p.m.

Officials said the shooting at the Orlando nightclub left at least 50 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in American history.

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Noon

A SWAT truck and a bomb disposal unit are on the scene of an address associated with the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

There is a media staging area set up about a block away from the apartment complex in a residential neighborhood in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Sunday. The shooter has been identified Omar Mateen.

Fort Pierce is about 118 miles southeast of Orlando. The apartment complex is a series of two-story buildings.

Numerous police officers and members of the FBI also area there.

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11:45 a.m.

The father of the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub says he's in shock and that he wasn't aware of anything his son might have been planning.

Mir Seddique is the father of Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Seddique told NBC News that his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that may be related to the shooting.

Seddique says: "We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. ... We are in shock like the whole country."

The father also says the incident has nothing to do with religion.

Officials say the shooter was among the 50 killed, and that they're investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

___

11:45 a.m.

Many are still awaiting word on whether their loved ones are among the 50 killed and 53 hospitalized in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Leinonen was at the popular Pulse club and is missing. That's according to his mother, Christine Leinonen. She drove to Orlando at 4 a.m. She hasn't heard from her son and fears the worst. She was standing in front of an Orlando hospital just down the street from Pulse.

She says: "These are nonsensical killings of our children. They're killing our babies!"

She said her son's friend made it out alive by hiding in the bathroom and running out as bullets were flying.

Also, on Sunday morning Facebook added a "Facebook Safety Check" for people to find out whether friends and family have tagged themselves as safe. The social network is using the heading "The Shooting in Orlando, Florida."

It is Facebook's way of allowing its users who live near the scene of a major crisis to notify people that they're OK.

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11:20 a.m.

Families and friends are awaiting word outside an Orlando hospital to learn whether their loved ones are among 50 killed and 53 more hospitalized at a shooting at a gay nightclub.

About 50 people were gathered outside Orlando Regional Medical Center on Sunday, many in tears and anxious.

Fatriana Evans frequents the Pulse nightclub and was outside when shots were fired.

Evans says, "It sounded like fireworks - pop, pop, pop - and then everybody scatters."

Jackie Smith was inside the club and says two friends next to her were shot. She says she hasn't gotten updates on their conditions. She came out of the hospital and burst into tears in the arms of friends.

She says: "Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance. I just tried to get out of there."

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11 a.m.

Police say the shooter at an Orlando nightclub used an AR-15-type assault rifle on all the victims.

Officials say 50 were killed at the popular gay club. That makes it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Police Chief John Mina said at a Sunday news conference that the shooter used the assault rifle, with unknown rounds, and also had a handgun.

Officials at the news conference also say they have securing the suspect's vehicle, a van, right outside the club.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Officials have said they're investigating whether the massacre was an act of terrorism.

Dr. Mike Cheatham is a trauma surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where 46 patients were taken. The majority are in critical condition.

He tells The Associated Press, "I think we will see the death toll rise."

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10:50 a.m.

The massacre at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Police Chief John Mina confirmed at a news conference Sunday morning that 50 people were killed, up from 20 as earlier reported.

Mayor Buddy Dyer says 53 more are hospitalized after the early Sunday incident. He says the shooter is among the dead. He also says the shooter used an assault rifle on all those dead. Officials say one officer was shot, and has injuries to his face.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

Officials also have said they're investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

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10:30 a.m.

The mayor of Orlando says there were 50 casualties and there are 53 more hospitalized after a mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub there.

"There's blood everywhere," Mayor Buddy Dyer said Sunday at a news conference, hours after the shooting.

He says the shooter used an assault rifle on all those killed.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

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10:20 a.m.

The suspect in the mass shooting at night club in Florida has been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter in the Sunday incident. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

A federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation also identified him. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said earlier that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

— Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.

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10:15 a.m.

Florida's governor is headed to Orlando after a shooting at a gay nightclub there left about 20 dead and 42 wounded.

Gov. Rick Scott says in a statement Sunday, hours after the incident, that thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The statement says he'll meet with law enforcement and local officials in Orlando.

Scott says: "We will devote every resource available to assist with the shooting in Orlando. Our state emergency operations center is also monitoring this tragic incident."

His statement also thanks the first responders.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said earlier that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

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9:45 a.m.

President Barack Obama has been briefed by his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser about the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left about 20 people dead and 42 wounded.

The White House said Sunday, several hours after the incident, that Obama has been briefed and has asked for regular updates as the FBI and other federal officials work with Orlando police on the case.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that the president has directed federal officials to provide "any necessary assistance to pursue the investigation and support the community."

___

7:25 a.m.

Police say approximately 20 people have been killed inside a Florida nightclub, and at least 42 were wounded.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina says authorities have not determined an exact number of people killed, but that "approximately 20" have died.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks says the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the early Sunday incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

Mina says the shooter was armed with an assault-type rifle, a handgun and some type of suspicious device. Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a "controlled explosion" at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando, a popular gay dance club. Mina says that noise was caused by a device intended to distract the shooter.

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7:15 a.m.

Police say multiple people have been killed inside a Florida nightclub, and at least 42 wounded people have been taken to hospitals.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina did not immediately provide an exact number of how many people were killed. Police had said previously that the shooting was a "mass casualty situation."

Mina says the shooter was armed with an assault-type rifle, a handgun and some type of device. Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a "controlled explosion" at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando.

Mina also says the suspect had exchanged gunshots with an officer working at the club, then went back inside and took hostages around 2 a.m. About three hours later, a SWAT team made the decision to go inside and rescue the hostages. The shooter died in a gunfight with those officers.

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5:55 a.m.

Police say the person who opened fire inside a popular Florida nightclub is dead.

Orlando Police did not immediately provide further details on the department's official Twitter account on Sunday. It was not immediately clear how the shooter died. Police described the shooting as a "mass casualty situation" and said local, state and federal agencies were involved in the investigation.

It was not immediately clear how many people were wounded in the shooting, or if any of the victims had died. Police have told people to stay away from the area and said a noise in the vicinity was a "controlled explosion." No further details were provided on the explosion.

Dozens of emergency vehicles have swarmed the area around the club.

The club, Pulse Orlando, earlier posted on its own Facebook page just after 2 a.m.: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running."

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5:15 a.m.

Police say a loud noise near the scene of a reported shooting at a nightclub in Florida was a "controlled explosion."

Orlando Police said on the department's official Twitter account Sunday that media should avoid "reporting inaccuracies." No further details were immediately provided about the explosion.

Police have said "multiple injuries" were reported following the incident at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near Orange and Kaley avenue. The department also advised people to stay away from area.

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department's bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Pulse Orlando earlier posted on its own Facebook page just after 2 a.m.: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running."

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4:50 a.m.

Orlando Police say they are responding to a shooting at a nightclub in Florida.

A post on the department's official Twitter account early Sunday morning says "multiple injuries" have been reported following the incident at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near Orange and Kaley avenue. The department also advises people to stay away from area.

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department's bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Pulse Orlando earlier posted on its own Facebook page: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running."

The incident follows the fatal shooting on Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on "The Voice."

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This story has been corrected to show that information about shooting being investigated as act of terrorism came from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, not the FBI.

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Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Hershey Felder's Irving Berlin
Santaland Diaries