Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning atOrlando'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 byposting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: Early Sunday morning, the citizens of Orlando, Florida were rocked by a shooting at gay nightclub Pulse that left approximately 50 people dead and more than 50 in the hospital. In times of tragedy, it is only natural to look to political leaders for a response and a call to action. Hillary Clinton and the White House have both released statements about the horrific shooting, and presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has responded to the Orlando shooting has well, posting on Twitter with a brief report on the incident.
"Really bad shooting in Orlando," Trump tweeted. "Police investigating possible terrorism. Many people dead and wounded."
Update: Shortly before noon on Sunday, Trump responded with a second tweet, in which he wrote, "Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?"
As of right now, Trump has offered no further comments on the shooting, just the above tweet. Shortly after sending that statement, he posted a second tweet, but it was about an alleged Hillary Clinton campaign ad, not the shooting. It is possible that Trump is waiting for more information about the shooting to become available before responding further, but at the moment, his comments feel inadequate given the gravity of the situation and his short news bulletin approach.
However, this could be a sign that Trump is learning from his past mistakes when it comes to responding to gun violence. The presumptive candidate has offered controversial responses to tragic shootings in the past. Most memorably, in December 2015, Trump responded to the San Bernardino, California shooting by calling for a "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the United States. His restrained response to the Orlando shooting could be a sign that he is taking a more cautious approach to how he responds to tragedies in their aftermath, but then again, that doesn't excuse him from not showing more emotion over such a tragic attack.
As of press time, Trump's only response has been this singular tweet, but it is all but certain he will issue more statements in the coming days as gun violence once again becomes a topic Americans must discuss. The presumptive Republican nominee will most certainly offer his thoughts on the shooting and gun control reforms soon, but as of now, the focus should be on the victims of this tragic shooting. Go here for more information on how you can help the victims of the Orlando shooting.