ISIS Claims Responsibility For Orlando Shooting

by Jenny Hollander

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 Sunday, hours after the worst mass shooting in American history — with 50 individuals in Orlando's Pulse gay bar killed, and more than 50 more injured — the terrorist group ISIS took responsibility for the Orlando massacre, according to one report. "The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter," said the ISIS-associated news service A'maq, RT reported. These reports were later confirmed by outlets including Reuters, the Washington Post, and MSNBC.

The individual suspected of carrying out the attack called 911 before he began firing and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, according to NBC. The Islamic terrorist group has consistently and gleefully encouraged "lone wolf" attacks, e.g. attacks that were not planned by the Islamic State itself but were rather carried out as a means to impress the notorious group.

Before the group publicly claimed responsibility, Donald Trump tweeted, "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!"

Even for Trump, the Tweet, which lacked any semblance of empathy and self-congratulated the presidential candidate on being "right" about his own country's most fatal mass shooting, was a low point.

In his own press conference early that afternoon, President Obama made no specific reference to the motive of the individual who carried out the attacks, but cautioned against allowing the terrorist act to create a culture of fear.

Here are some ways you can help.

Images: Bustle (2)