Early Sunday morning, around 2 a.m., a shooter entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and opened fire. Orlando Police Chief John Mina says that the shooter has been shot and killed, and CNN reports that authorities are calling this an act of domestic terrorism. The death toll at the Pulse nightclub shooting is "around 20" people, and a reported 42 people have been taken to the hospital. Update: Orlando’s mayor has updated the death toll to 50 deceased and more than 50 more people are in the hospital.
Mayor Buddy Dyer explained in a press conference that after gaining more access to the building and the nightclub, it's with great sadness that he reports that there were over 50 casualties. He said:
This is something we never imagined and is unimaginable. Since the last update, we have gotten better access to the building, we have cleared the building, and it is with great sadness that I share that we have not 20 but 50 casualties in addition to the shooter. There are another 53 that have been hospitalized.
The suspect has been identified, and authorities are looking into the motivation, but they are calling the shooting an act of domestic terrorism.
Earlier: NPR reports that Mina explains:
"At approximately 0202 hours this morning, we had an officer working at Pulse nightclub, who responded to shots fired. Our officer engaged in a gun battle with that suspect. That suspect at some point went back inside the club, where more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation. Obviously multiple officers from various agencies responded, SWAT team responded. At approximately 0500 hours this morning, the decision was made to rescue hostages that were in there."
The shooting at Pulse is now the worst mass shooting in American history. There's been out pouring of support for the victims and their families on social media, and there are various ways people can help. Donating blood is one of the ways to have the most impact.