Photo: Orlando Police / Twitter

Mass Casualties After Shooting & Hostage Situation At Orlando Nightclub

UPDATE 14/06/18 9:11am AEST: Snapchat footage has emerged, capturing the early, spine-tingling moments of the tragic nightclub shooting.

UPDATE 13/06/18 2:10pm AEST: Orlando Police have confirmed that a total of 50 people have died as a result of the shooting. A further 53 people have been injured. The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida. He was shot and killed inside the club by SWAT Officers who stormed the venue, rescuing 30 hostages Mateen had taken, just after 5am. Police have said that he purchased the firearms legally within the last week.

As reported by NY Times, Mateen has been investigated by the F.B.I. in the past. In 2013, he was questioned when he made comments to co-workers alluding to having terrorist ties and again in 2014, for possible connections to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American suicide bomber in Syria. The F.B.I. was unable both times to find solid evidence that he was connected to terrorism. According to law enforcement official, Mateen called 911 before beginning his assault and declared his connection to the Islamic State.

President Barrack Obama has called it “an act of terror” while Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled it “a murderous attack on gay people.”

There are candlelight vigils being held all around the world including in Australia. In Sydney, vigils have been organised tonight in Newtown and at Taylor Square off Oxford Street.

UPDATE 12/06/18 9:40pm AEST: Speaking at a press conference, Chief John Mina from Orlando Police Department says at least 20 people have died and 42 have been taken to hospital following the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Mr Mina says around 30 people were rescued from the venue, while one officer was injured in the gunfire, but not seriously.

Police say the shooter had assault rifle and a handgun, and “some type of device on him”. They also say he was “organised” and not from the local area.

UPDATE 12/06/16 8:00pm AEST: Orlando Police have confirmed the gunman is dead inside the club, while local, state and federal agencies are now facing “a mass casualty situation”.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Pulse nightclub says, “As soon as we have any information we will update everyone. Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and love.”

UPDATE 12/06/16 7:05pm AEST: Around 40 people are reportedly being treated for injuries in a nearby hospital. An explosion has also been heard near Pulse nightclub, but Orlando Police have pointed out it was carried out by law enforcement:

ORIGINAL STORY: A mass shooting has taken place at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and a gunman has barricaded himself and a number of hostages inside the venue, according to reports.

Posts on social media posts claim at least 40 people are being treated for gunshot-related injuries sustained in Pulse Nightclub. There are also unconfirmed reports that the gunman is wearing a bomb, with bomb detection dogs and crews reportedly spotted at the scene.

Taking to its own Facebook page in the last few hours, Pulse nightclub told patrons to leave the venue as quickly as possible.

Facebook users have commented on the club’s post to share information on the shooting. Some of the information remains unconfirmed by Orlando Police, who are preparing to brief the media shortly.

Users have written that the attacker has an assault rifle and is held up inside with a number of hostages, while others say at least 30 people have been shot inside the venue.

Witness Ricardo Negron tells Sky News there were over 100 people inside the venue for the club’s Latin night when the gunman entered the building and began firing into the ceiling and crowd.

“We just heard shots, it was less than a minute, it felt longer,” Negron says. “There was a brief pause and we just ran. Everybody was just faces to the floor. I had someone over me, I really didn’t see [how many gunmen there were]. All I can tell you was the club was packed, there were over 100 people there.”

Social media posts about the shooting can be viewed below.

This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

A previous shooting in Orlando on Friday night, 10th June, has led to the death of 22-year-old American singer Christina Grimmie.

WARNING: Graphic Content Below

Facebook Comments On Pulse Nightclub’s Original Post

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