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Pulse Nightclub Massacre: 50 dead, 53 injured

Orlando shooter Omar Saddiqui Mateen
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It has been confirmed by Orlando Police Chief John Mina that 50 people have died so far in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Initially there was an estimate of 20 people believed to be slain in the nightclub, “Once the shooter was down we were able to send people in,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer.  

It happened early Sunday morning when lone gunman Omar Saddiqui Mateen (pictured) opened fire at the gay nightclub called Pulse in Orlando before he was shot and killed.

There is a call for blood donations as at least 53 people have been hospitalized, some of them in critical condition.

Chief Mina said that the gunman was armed with an assault-type weapon, a handgun and some other device, "It's appears he was organized and well-prepared," CNN reports.

Initial reports said that Saddiqui also was equipped with a bomb, however investigators have not yet found explosives on the scene.  

Orlando Mayor has issued a state of emergency, and has implored the state’s governor to do the same.

CNN reports that at around 2 am, an officer working at the club engaged Saddiqui and they began to shoot at each other, shortly after, the assailant entered the club and began firing on the crowd.

Senator Bill Nelson (D) held a press conference this morning, saying that the shootings may have been ISIS related, “They do believe that there is some connection to ISIS, but that’s not official,” Nelson said. “This appears to be unfortunately an act of terrorism, but we can’t say that totally yet. In two successive nights we had killings.” He added.

There has been no evidence yet that the killer was based on his allegiance to a radical terrorism cell.

Lambda Legal released a statement this morning:  

““Lambda Legal joins the people around the country in expressing our sorrow and outrage at the terrible and deadly attack on patrons at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida.  Our first thoughts, as they must be, are with the loved ones of those who were killed and with those who were injured or who witnessed this horrific assault. We offer our deepest sympathies and our hopes that those who were wounded will recover.”

President Obama is scheduled to speak about the massacre at 1:30 pm in the Brady Press Briefing Room.