In a devastating mass shooting that has left at least 20 people dead, Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Danny Banks called the shootings at Pulse Nightclub “an act of terrorism” at the press conference held early Sunday morning.
In addition, Banks said, there is no indication that there are any more shootings planned in Orlando or the state of Florida, Banks said. It has been confirmed that the mass shooting that killed at least 20, and injured 42 more, has been classified as an act of domestic terrorism and is being investigated as such by the FBI, along with numerous other agencies.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke at the same press conference, confirming the numerous casualties that occurred within the attack in Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“Tonight, we had a crime that will have a lasting effect on our community.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina also spoke at the conference, and stated that the Orlando Police Department was currently working to remove any “devices” the shooter may have left behind.
Police have shot and killed the gunman, Mina confirmed. The shooter had both an assault-type weapon and a handgun.
“It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” Chief Mina said.
“That turned into a hostage situation,” Mina said.
Authorities continued to receive emergency calls from people who were inside the club, but away from the gunman, Chief Mina stated.
At that point, more police made it to the scene at Pulse, and were able to break down a door with an armored vehicle.
It was at that time, Mina confirmed, that the police were able to shoot and kill the gunman. Mina stated that the shooter was “holed up in a bathroom” with hostages, although it was unclear as to how many. At about 5 a.m., “the decision was made to rescue the hostages that were in there,” Mina said.
Club-goer Christopher Hansen, who was inside Pulse at the time of the shooting, attempted to describe the horrifying scene.
“It’s just shocking,” said Hansen. He heard gunshots, “just one after another after another.”
“It could have lasted a whole song,” he added.
Ricardo Negron Almodovar said he was in the club when the shooting started at about 2 a.m., and barely escaped.
“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,” he posted on the club’s Facebook page. “I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.”
Anthony Torres was also at Pulse when the shooting began, but he was able to drive off when he heard the shooting begin.
“The shots did not sound like a regular handgun, it sounded like it was shooting repetitively and it wouldn’t stop. So we knew what it was and we left there pretty quick. It was over 70 cop cars that were arriving there…it happened so quick that people got separated from each other.”
Shortly after the act of terror began inside the nightclub, Pulse posted a frantic message on their Facebook page, advising everyone to leave as quickly as they could.
“Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running,” Pulse posted on its Facebook page when the violence began.
Orlando police have asked residents to stay away from the area, and have also urged that people not call their offices. Bomb sniffing dogs are on the scene at the nightclub, according to CNN.
The suspect “had a device on him,” prompting a search for others that may be at the scene, Mina said.
The Inquisitr will continue to keep readers updated on the situation as more details emerge.
[Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP]