Coverage and image from The Guardian – extracts in chronological order.
What we know so far
A shooting at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando has killed about 20 people and sent 42 to the hospital, after Florida police and Swat teams ended a hostage situation with a gunman, killing him, in the early hours of of Sunday morning.
At a morning press conference the FBI described the shooting as an act of terrorism, saying: “Whether that’s a domestic terrorist activity or international, it’s terrorism.”
The press conference also gave details how the shooting began, the raid, and what few details police know so far about the gunman.
Shooter identified as Omar Mateen
Several news outlets have identified the gunman as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce Florida. …
The shooter was killed during a shootout with police, as they broke into the night club to rescue 30 people held hostage there. No motive for the attack has been offered by police.
The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the identity of the shooter.
50 dead, 53 wounded in attack, says mayor
Mayor Dyer confirmed to a press conference that there were 50 killed and 53 hospitalised in the shooting, not 20 killed and 42 hospitalised as initially reported by police.
State of emergency declared – Orlando mayor
A state of emergency has been declared across the city of Orlando, Mayor Dyer has announced, to allow law enforcement officials to focus on the investigation of the shooting at Pulse night club overnight.
A knowledgeable US official told the Guardian that an unfolding federal investigation was in the earliest stages, but an initial hypothesis regarding the shooter’s motive leaned closer to a hate crime than an act of terrorism.
Muslim leaders around the US have condemned the attacks and urged Americans to donate blood for the 53 men and women in hospitals, many in dire condition.
“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,’ the head of the Florida chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Rasha Mubarak, said in a statement.
“The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”
NBC’s Pete Williams is reporting that Omar Mateen called 911 before the attack and when the operator answered, “swore his allegiance to [Abu Bakr al-]Baghdadi”, the leader of terror group Isis.
Williams cites unnamed law enforcement sources for his report.
Barack Obama: this was an act of terror and hate
“As Americans we grieve this brutal murder” of dozens of innocents, Barack Obama begins his remarks to the nation on the worst mass shooting in its history.
“We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city,” he continues. “This is an especially heartbreaking day for all of our friends and fellow Americans who are lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual.”
He says the attack was against more than just a nightclub, but a place where “people came to dance and to sing and to live” and “a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people have come together to raise awareness to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights”.
The massacre, he says, is a “sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us.”
“Although it’s still early,” he says, “we know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate.”
Further live coverage in The Guardian.
[RL: Moderation note: This thread will be moderated tightly for anti-Islamic bigotry. Make an argument about ISIS or fundamentalism if you want, but generalised assertions about Islam, and all Muslims by association, will attract the wrong kind of attention.]