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: Whenever tragedy strikes, this question arises almost immediately: What can I do to help? Following Sunday's early morning shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, people have been coming together to donate blood in the city and beyond. It's inspiring to see, since local organization OneBlood announced that there was an urgent need for people to donate blood — especially O Negative, O Positive, and AB Plasma. According to photos on Twitter, people have been doing just that. Long lines at blood banks can offer hope in an otherwise devastating time. Update: The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that OneBlood is overwhelmed with people wanting to donate, and is asking donors to make an appointment and return in the coming days.
Considering the Pulse nightclub shooting has been declared the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history, it's undeniably tragic. Yet to see so many individuals go out of their way to help really does show how people tend to rally together in times of need. It also serves as a reminder of the good in people, following a seemingly senseless act.
Keep in mind that just because there are lines down the block at blood banks, it doesn't mean there's still not a need for donations. The death count has risen to 50 people deceased and more than 50 in the hospital. Any help can go a long way.
Here's a video of more than 600 people lined up to donate blood.
And here's another long line:
One more photo to remind you of the good in people.
If you're unable to donate blood, you can check out this list of other ways to help the victims in Orlando. Another major way to help is to spread the word about the number to call to check on loved ones in the city: 407-246-4357. No matter where you're located, it's possible to get involved.