The tragic mass shooting at Pulse Orlando on June 12 left 50 dead, including the shooter, and 53 wounded. The massacre at the popular gay club in Orlando, Florida has the highest death toll of any mass shooting in United States history and is the deadliest terror attack since 9/11.
This dark day in American history has left more questions than answers.
What we know so far is that authorities have identified the gunman as 29-year-old Omar Saddiqui Mateen of Fort Pierce, the American-born son of Afghani parents. News affiliates have reported that Mateen had previously been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014, but found not to be a threat. The New York Times reports that in 2014 authorities were investigating a link between Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a Floridian who became a suicide bomber.
CNN reports that around 2 a.m., Mateen started shooting outside the packed club. After exchanging fire with an Orlano Police Department officer on duty at the club, Mateen fled inside with a 223-caliber AR-15 style assault rifle, a 9mm handgun and an explosive device. Inside, the Orlano Sentinel reports that two additional officeres became involved in the shootout.
Mateen retreated to a bathroom; a hostage situation developed.
"Investigators called to the scene told CNN that, hours later, the bodies remained where they had fallen, their cell phones ringing and vibrating, filling the club with the eerie sound of parents trying to reach children who would never pick up," the Tampa Bay Times reports.
At approximately 2:22 a.m., Mateen called 911 from inside the club to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
After three hours, during which those trapped inside frantically called police, loved ones and posted on social media in desperate attempts to get help or escape, law enforcement breached the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades. Mateen was killed by officers. Thirty hostages were rescued.
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