49 people were killed and 53 were taken to the hospital in a shooting at a gay night club in Orlando early Sunday morning, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said.
The gunman, who also died, has been identified as Omar Mateen, 29, of St. Lucie County, Florida. According to ABC News, Mateen was "on the radar" of terrorism officials, but was not the target of any specific investigation.
According to various reports, Mateen, who is Muslim, had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call prior to the shooting.
Mateen's father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News that "this has nothing to do with religion." Seddique suggested to NBC News that the shooting could be related to seeing two men kissing in Miami.
President Obama called the shooting "the worst shooting in U.S. history." He referred to it as "an act of terror" and "an act of hate."
"This is an attack on all of us," Obama said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, officials believe Mateen acted as a "lone wolf" shooter. He was reportedly carrying an assault rifle, handgun and possibly wearing an explosive device. All the killing was done with an AR-15 assault rifle, Rep. Alan Grayson in a press conference.
The shooter entered the nightclub around 2 a.m., Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a 7 a.m. press conference. An officer responded and engaged in a shootout outside Pulse, and the gunman ran inside the club. “That turned into a hostage situation,” Mina said.
At least one officer was injured, Mina said.
“I was there,” one man posted on the club’s Facebook page. “Shooter opened fire @ around 2:00am. 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. I am safely home and hoping everyone gets home safely as well.”
Orlando Regional Medical Center and Arnold Palmer Hospital were both placed on lockdown in the aftermath of the shooting.
Friends and family seeking information can call the Orlando police emergency hotline at 407-246-4357.
Correction: this post has been updated to reflect the FBI's revised death toll. The initial figure of 50 included the shooter.