Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. After opening fire on the crowd, an individual named Omar Mateen had taken hostages and was ultimately killed in a stand-off with police; Mateen had called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the massacre. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency, and the massacre is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The victims' names were released by the city of Orlando on its website as their next of kin were informed. Here are some ways to help the Orlando shooting victims and their loved ones; you can also donate to the victims' fund, as well as express your solidarity with the LGBTQ community by posting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: On Saturday night, an individual opened fire at the popular Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and reportedly began taking hostages thereafter. Although the individual who committed the crime is now deceased, Orlando police estimate the number of dead at 20, and the number of injured at 42. If those numbers are confirmed, this would be one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. Photos and videos of the Pulse shooting are horrifying, showing people fleeing the scene, and others rushing to help and comfort victims and bystanders.
"Everyone get out of pulse and keep running," the club posted on Facebook early Saturday morning. A few hours later, it wrote on Facebook: "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."
The Orlando Police Department called in domestic authorities, and confirmed early Sunday morning that the incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism. On Twitter, mayor Buddy Dyer wrote: "Our community experienced a horrific crime today. Our hearts & prayers are with the victims and their families ... Despite the fact that tonight's crime will have a lasting effect, we are a strong community ... The actions of the first responders and hospitals have saved many lives."
#PrayForOrlando was trending on Twitter on Sunday morning as people expressed their shock and horror at the news.