Forty-nine people are dead and another fifty-plus injured following a mass shooting and hostage situation last night at one of Orlando’s most popular gay clubs, reports CBSNews.com. The death toll makes the massacre the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
A male gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, reportedly began his rampage at Pulse nightclub at around 2:20 a.m. and exchanged gunfire with an officer already posted at the event before other law enforcement agencies and officials responded. The shooter then retreated into the club and began a hostage situation.
A SWAT team eventually entered the club and fatally shot the gunman, who also had a device of some kind strapped to his body.
According to a U.S. intelligence source, Islamic terrorism is being investigated as a possible motive for the attack due to several indicators, including the style of the rampage, which had similarities to the attacks in Paris last fall and Brussels in March.
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(Update: CBSNews.com reports that Islamic terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacre in Orlando. Omar Monteen called 911 from a bathroom during the shootings and pledged allegiance to ISIS and al Baghdadi when they called him back, according to a U.S. intel source)