Social media users and people across the globe express sympathy for those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Sunday morning.
In one of the bloodiest mass shootings in U.S. history and one of the worst attacks since 9/11, 50 people were shot dead and 53 more were injured.
The FBI identified the gunman, who had terrorist ties in 2014, as Omar Mateen, 29, of St. Lucie County. He was also killed in a shootout with police around 5 a.m., according to the Orlando Sentinel.
In a statement, the gunman’s father said that the nation of Islam had nothing to do with it. His son had grown “very angry” after witnessing two men kissing and the LGBT community is outraged.
People can be seen gathering and lighting candles, unfurling rainbow flags and consoling one another in tribute to the victims. Hundreds gathered on Sunday at the Stonewall Inn, “the Greenwich Village tavern where, in the summer of 1969, a police raid precipitated a massive gay-rights protest.”
“The attack took place during Pride month,” said the ILGA, which represents 1,100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) groups worldwide — “a time of joy and celebration” for the gay and lesbian community.”
The gunfire began at 2:00 a.m. and lasted for the duration of one song, a witness told the Orlando Sentinel. Mateen, armed with an assault rifle and a pistol, exchanged gunfire with an Orlando police officer before shooting into the crowd.
People hid behind objects and scrambled around the nightclub to save their lives as Mateen opened fire.
“People were trampling over each other,” said Jillian Amador whose arm was cut by broken glass. “I feel terrible. I have anxiety. I’m scared. I don’t want to go out,” she said to the Orlando Sentinel.
She continued, “At first I thought it was fireworks … I didn’t believe it, then I saw people on the ground and people running.”
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.” —President Obama on the tragic shooting in Orlando. Click the link in the bio to watch the President’s full statement.
The survivors, who were waiting inside of the nightclub the morning of the shooting, were rescued by law-enforcement and police SWAT members.
Many family members of the victims are anxiously calling their loved one’s cell phones only to be sent to voicemail. However, officials are slowly identifying and reporting the status of each of the victims as this story develops.
Our Prayers Are With The Families of The Victims!
Written By: Taylor Bennett