Orlando Police say there are 50 people dead, and 53 others injured after a mass shooting at the LGBT Pulse Night club in Orlando, Florida.
The suspected gunman is also dead.
Investigators say the heavily armed gunman exchanged fire with an off-duty police officer stationed outside the club around 2 am, before bursting in and spraying the crowd with gunfire.
Police say the suspect, who has since been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was armed with a handgun, an AR15 type assault rifle, and a “suspicious device.”
Investigators say took hostages, and was eventually killed in a gunfight with police when a SWAT team entered around 5am to rescue them.
Police say Mateen is 29, and an American citizen born in New York City. According to the ATF, he legally bought his guns last week in Florida.
The FBI adds that it was aware of Mateen, who first came across its radar in 2013. He was reportedly interviewed by the agency twice, in 2013 and in 2014.
Mateen is also reported to have referred to the Islamic State in a 911 call from the scene of the shooting, but officials say they have yet to officially link him to the group.
“Our community is strong”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer released a statement on twitter, saying “Our community is strong. We will need to help each other get through this.”
Dyer says their focus in the coming hours is identifying the victims and notifying the families but he says the identification process may take some time, though officials have released a first set of names.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency, which will allow them to bring additional resources to support investigators in what’s being called the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
President Obama: ‘Act of terror, act of hate’
— POLITICO (@politico) June 12, 2016
Social media reaction to shooting
Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. -H — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 12, 2016
Thinking of all affected by this senseless act of violence in Orlando. Standing united with the LGBTQ community there and around the world. — Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) June 12, 2016
— Gregor Robertson (@MayorGregor) June 12, 2016