Law enforcement authorities are still investigating The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the location where the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred early Sunday morning with at least 50 dead and 53 injured.
President Barack Obama called the mass shooting an “act of terror and hate” and said the F.B.I. is investigating the case as an act of terrorism.
“We will go wherever the facts will lead us” Obama said.
Obama called for the lowering of American flags to half staff.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 12, 2016
Timeline Of Shooting Massacre
Orlando Police have released a summary of the tragic events that occurred at the gay nightclub early Sunday morning.
According to Orlando Police, just after 2 a.m. an Orlando Police Officer working extra duty at the Pulse Nightclub responded to shots fired.
The officer engaged in a gun battle with that suspect, later identified as Omar Mateen, 29, and went deeper into the club where more shots were fired.
The incident then turned into a hostage situation.
The suspect, Omar Mateen, a resident of Fort Pierce, Florida who was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan, continued shooting inside the nightclub.
At 5 a.m., the decision was made to breach the nightclub and rescue the remaining hostages.
Orlando Police Officers were able to rescue 30 hostages and lead them to safety while SWAT Officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, Omar Mateen, killing him.
Omar Mateen legally purchased the firearms within the last week, said Trevor Velinor, Asst. Special Agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tampa Field Office.
The type of assault rifle linked to Sunday’s mass shooting was an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, the same AR-15 assault rifle used during the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that occurred in December 2015, resulting in 14 deaths.
The AR-15 assault rifle was also used during the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, resulting in 20 children killed and 6 adults.
A handgun was also used during the Orlando killing spree with the shooter invoking ISIS and the Boston marathon bombers during a 911 call, approximately 20 minutes into the terror attack.
The F.B.I. had interviewed Mr. Mateen during two previous terrorist related cases but both of the cases were closed and he wasn’t under F.B.I. surveillance, according to F.B.I. Special Agent Ronald Hopper.
Despite the 2 previous F.B.I. cases, Omar Mateen was still allowed to legally purchased the firearms within the last week.
Florida has one of the most lax state gun laws that does not require a state license to purchase a gun.
However, if a person wants to carry a concealed weapon, a permit is required.
Florida state records show Omar Mateen as a licensed security officer with a statewide firearms license.
An ID and background check are needed in Florida for a prospective gun owner with a 3 to 5 day waiting period, although background checks are not required for gun sales and transfer between private citizens.
The Florida Constitution allows counties to enact local laws that require criminal history checks and waiting periods.
Several counties in Florida have imposed these restrictions but the shooting occurred in Orange County in Orlando which doesn’t have any restrictions on private gun sales.
Separately, last Friday evening in Florida a 27 year old man carrying two handguns shot and killed former “The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie,22, following a Friday night concert before he turned the gun on himself.
Written By: John Schweitzer
* My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims of both shootings in Florida.