Police are now saying there are 50 dead in the Orlando nightclub shooting lass night. The Police have identified the shooter as an American of Afghani descent.
A shooting and hostage situation early Sunday morning at a Florida nightclub — which describes itself as “Orlando’s hottest gay bar” — left an estimated 50 people dead, including the gunman, and more than 50 injured, officials say.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said at a press conference Sunday that a state of emergency has been declared after what authorities have indicated may have been a “lone wolf” style terror attack. The attack appears to be the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Sources have confirmed to CBS News that authorities are investigating whether the suspect, who has been named as Omar Mateen, had ties to Islamic terrorism. Mateen, of Port. St. Lucie, Florida, is a U.S. citizen with no apparent criminal history, according to sources.
Dyer said that in addition to the 50 people who were killed in the attack, 53 were treated for injuries.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the suspect was found with a handgun and an AR-15-style assault rifle.
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A U.S. intelligence source told CBS news senior investigative producer Pat Milton that Islamic terrorism is being investigated as a possible motive in the shooting due to several indicators including the style of the attack, which had similarities tothe attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March. The gunman put up a protracted gun battle with police and was heavily armed, the source said.
Robots are now analyzing a device the gunman had strapped to his body to determine if it was a real explosive device or a fake made to look like a real device, the source said.
Sources tell Milton that authorities investigating the incident are still looking into whether the attack is a hate crime.
Mina said the incident at Pulse nightclub began around 2:20 a.m., when shots rang out and an officer already posted at the event engaged the gunman, whom Mina said was armed with an assault rifle, a handgun, and a “device” of some kind that officials believed was a threat. Mina said the gunman appeared organized and well-prepared for the incident.