ORLANDO — People woke up to reports of mass shootings at the Pulse night club in Orlando Sunday morning.
ABC News posted a video from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s press conference on Facebook. He told the press that 50 people were reported killed at the night club and 53 injured. According to NBC News, this is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History.
NPR reported that the shooter has been tentatively identified as Omar Mateen. There is no other confirmation but speculation has already started about it being “radical Islam.” The New York Times reported that he was an American citizen living in Port. St. Lucie, Fla.
The shooting started at 2 a.m. Eastern time. Many media reports say that the shooter came in “well prepared.” Police had to use explosives and an armored vehicle to rescue about 30 people who trapped in the club with the shooter.
Terry DeCarlo, head of the GLBT Center Of Central Florida, told WMFE reporter Catherine Welch that they’re opening crisis hotlines to help the LGBT community.
“We can’t confirm — and I’ve talked extensively with the police department — that it was a direct hate crime against the LGBT community, it could have just been a person looking for a packed nightclub to go in and start shooting. We can’t confirm that yet,” he says. He adds that his main concern now is providing support for community members and their families.
The shooting comes as many cities are in the middle of or preparing to celebrate Pride.
We’ll have more on this as we can. While authorities are calling it domestic terrorism, they haven’t said if it was a hate crime.
UPDATE: We have gotten some news about vigils in the region.
Chicago’s vigil will be at the corner of Halstead and Roscoe in the heart of Boystown, starting at 7 p.m. Sunday night. Information on Chicago.GoPride.com.
Louisville will hold a vigil on both sides of the Big Four Bridge with people from Indiana and Kentucky meeting in the center over the Ohio River. https://www.facebook.com/events/110571396035218/
Indianapolis’s vigil will be at the Egyptian Room near Mass Ave tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Indy held its Pride parade just yesterday.
BelowZero Lounge in Cincinnati will hold a gathering Monday evening.
A GoFundMe fundraising page has been established at https://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund. As of this post, more than $175,000 has been raised.
Gawker reported that the ban on donations from gay and bi men has NOT been lifted by OneBlood. We do encourage everyone who is able to donate to do so.
Also, there are multiple media reports that a man with an assault rifle and explosives was apprehended on his way to Los Angeles Pride. More details at the LA Times.
President Obama spoke on the shooting today from the White House. ““This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friend, our fellow Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” Obama said in his remarks. “The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance, to sing and to live.”
Full video of his remarks below from CNN.