Police: Mass casualties after club shooting; shooter is dead

Sunday, June 12, 2016

 

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at a well-known central Florida nightclub, and multiple people have been wounded, police said Sunday.

The shooter inside the club is dead, Orlando Police said on the department's official Twitter page. It was not immediately clear how the shooter died, or how many people were wounded in the shooting. Police described it as a "mass casualty situation."

"Multiple injuries" were reported following the shooting at Pulse Orlando, a popular gay dance club. People were told to stay away from the area.

Multiple emergency vehicles have responded, including the Orlando Fire Department's bomb squad and hazardous material team. Police said via Twitter that a noise heard near the shooting site was a "controlled explosion." No other details were provided.

Pulse Orlando posted on its own Facebook page around 2 a.m.: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running."

The incident follows the fatal shooting late Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on "The Voice."

Dozens of police vehicles, including a SWAT team, swarmed the area around the club. At least two police pickup trucks were seen taking what appeared to be shooting victims to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Jon Alamo said he was at the back of one of the club's rooms when a man holding a weapon came into the front of the room.

"I heard 20, 40, 50 shots," Alamo said. "The music stopped."

Club-goer Rob Rick said it happened around, 2 a.m., just before closing time.

"Everybody was drinking their last sip," he said.

He estimated more than 100 people were still inside when he heard shots, got on the ground and crawled toward a DJ booth. A bouncer knocked down a partition between the club area and an area in the back where only workers are allowed. People inside were able to then escape through the back of the club.

Mina Justice was outside the club trying to contact her 30-year-old son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call police. He told her he ran into a bathroom with other club patrons to hide. He then texted her: "He's coming."

"The next text said: 'He has us, and he's in here with us,'" she said. "That was the last conversation."

 

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