Just yesterday, the city of Orlando witnessed the deadly shooting of “The Voice” singer Chrisina Grimmie, 22. The young singer, shot at her own concert, was reportedly targeted by a crazed fan who traveled from another city to kill her.
But just hours later, while the city was still in shock, violence swept the city again. shots rang out at local gay nightclub Pulse. Witnesses say that the club was in the middle of a regular themed “Latin Night” around 2am when the first shots rang out.
CNN reported the harrowing details, as we now know them:
Approximately 20 people are dead inside Pulse nightclub, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Sunday morning, just hours after a shooter opened fire in the club. At least 42 people have been transported for medical treatment, he said.
Police have shot and killed the gunman, Mina told reporters.
Witnesses describe what they believe to have been an automatic weapon, which are all-but-outlawed for common civilian use:
“It's appears he was organized and well-prepared,” the chief said, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
Orlando authorities said they consider the violence an act of domestic terror. The FBI is involved.
One witness was more explicit. “The shots did not sound like a regular handgun, it sounded like it was shooting repetitively and it wouldn't stop,” Anthony Torres, who was at the nightclub, said.
More specifically, police are looking into the attack as an act of Islamic terrorism:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made the following comment:
Christopher Hansen, who was inside Pulse when the shooting started, told Christal Hayes of the Orlando Sentinel:
"Bang! Bang! Screaming. And loud noises. The guy next to me was shot ... when I turned around to look everyone was falling and dropping and screaming.
I just know when you hear the bang you're not shot, so I knew I was OK at that particular moment. I didn't know how long it would last."
Hayes posted the following to Twitter:
Some tweeted as they hid and waited for a good time to get out:
An officer on the scene responded quickly and engaged the shooter, but after a standoff and hostage situation that lasted nearly three ours, law enforcement made the decision to rescue the hostages.
They exchanged fire with the gunman, who appeared to be carrying a rifle and a handgun. The shooter was killed during the exchange.
The last reports indicate that there were at least 20 dead inside the nightclub, and over 40 taken to local hospitals for treatment. Police are looking at the shooting as a possible act of terrorism, and have not ruled out the possibility of a second shooter.
Press conference below:
This is certainly a dark day for Orlando, and the nation grieves with the families and the community there.