It’s been a tough weekend for the city of Orlando. 20 hours after “The Voice” star Christine Grimmie was murdered at a fan meet and greet, CNN reports a shooting at Pulse nightclub has left at least 20 people dead and 42 others injured according to police chief John Mina. The gunman who ABC News reports officials have identified as 29 year-old Omar Mateen of St. Lucie County, Florida, was shot and killed by police.
Pulse describes itself at the “hottest gay club in Orlando” and was promoting it’s “Latin Flavor Night”. The shooting begin shortly after 2 AM when police engaged in a shootout with the gunman who then ran into the club. The FBI is now involved in what authorities consider to be an “act of domestic terror” but have yet to identify a motive behind the shooting.
Chief Mina revealed that after the gunman entered the club it turned into a “hostage situation” as the police began to receive calls from those inside the club but weren’t near the gunman. He added the gunman appeared “organized and well-prepared” saying the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and some other type of device.
“Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running,” the club posted to its Facebook page shortly after the first gunshots rang out. Police broke down the door with an armored vehicle helping some club-goers get to safety. Bomb sniffing dogs were also brought to the scene as police warned other citizens to stay clear from the area.
CNN interviewed club-goer Ricardo Almodovar who stated he barely escaped the shooting:
“People on the dance floor and bar got down on the floor and some of us who were near the bar and back exit managed to go out through the outdoor area and just ran. I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.”
Other club-goers who escaped stated that the gunshots were fired repeatedly inside the club as if the shooter “wouldn’t stop” and gunshots lasted for at least the length of a song. Witnesses state they saw people rushing from the club screaming, crying and bleeding.
Arnold Palmer Hospital, Winnie Palmer Hospital were placed on lockdown as well as The Orlando Medical Center which is only located a few miles away, with only essential workers being allowed access into the building.
As more details are released about this tragic situation, we send our thoughts to Orlando citizens as well as the friends and families of the victims.