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UPDATE 10:42AM EST: Orlando Mayor says 50 people have been killed in the incident and at least 53 injured. Those numbers could rise.
ORIGINAL COVERAGE: The FBI is investigating a mass shooting at a Florida night club as a possible act of Islamic terror. The incident is the worst mass shooting in US history and the worst act of terrorism on US soil since the 9/11 terror attacks.
A man, identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida has been identified as the suspect in the case. Authorities say they are investigating all angles in the case, but they have reason to believe Mateen has ties to Islamic terrorism.
Mateen was killed during a shootout with a SWAT team which stormed the facility.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the suspect was carrying an “assault style rifle”, a handgun, and had some sort of device strapped to his body, although authorities have not said if it was an explosive device.
Authorities originally told CNN that explosives had been found, but later denied those reports.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both responded to the attack on their Twitter accounts:
Florida Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement:
If you look at the nature of the attack, it doesn’t take an enormous amount of coordination to do this.
We have seen the way gays and lesbians are treated by radical Islam. So in some ways its not surprising.
If this is something inspired by radical ideology, common sense tells you he specifically targeted this community.
Unfortunately we’ve had a lot of practice at explaining this to our children. You have to explain that people are doing bad things. I think we are learning that this is an individual who worked for a security company, so we will have to see what kind of background checks were done.
It is a reminder that the war on terror has evolved into something we never had to confront before.
I am confident the FBI and Homeland Security are on this, and we will learn a lot more very soon.