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, a mass shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida at the gay nightclub Pulse, and with 50 people reported dead and at least 50 more injured, the attack is officially the worst mass shooting in American history. In response to the overwhelming tragedy, CBS and the 2016 Tony Awards have decided to honor the Orlando victims by dedicating Sunday night's ceremony to all those affected by the shooting.
With rehearsals for the Tony performances well underway and guests soon beginning to show up to take their seats, canceling the event would not be possible. Since the ceremony must go on, the Tonys have chosen a beautiful way to pay tribute to all those who were injured or lost their lives in the shooting. By dedicating the ceremony to the victims, the producers of the Tony Awards are ensuring that while the show will be primarily about entertainment, the tragic events of the day will not be ignored.
The tragedy will most certainly be addressed throughout the night, as the Tonys support the victims and the LGBTQ community in this devastating time. There is no word yet on how the awards show will choose to address the tragic shooting in Orlando during the actual ceremony, but it is clear the victims and their families will be at the forefront of everyone's minds throughout the night. The official Tony Awards Twitter account extended heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, and announced the decision to dedicate the ceremony to all those who were injured or lost their lives.
As of right now, officials are treating the Orlando shooting as an act of terrorism. Investigation into the shooting is still underway, and more information will be released as it becomes available. Here is all the information you need if you would like to help the victims of the Orlando shooting and their loved ones during this heartbreaking time.
The Tonys are set to air as planned on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. EST.