The city’s mayor, Buddy Dyer, said fifty people are now known to have been killed in a shooting accident at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The gunman, whom officials said was Omar Mateen, was killed after he had taken hostages at the Bols Club.
President Barack Obama said that Americans are united in their grief, anger, and their “determination to defend our people” after “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
The attack is the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
Officials said the killings were most likely ideologically motivated, although there is no information about the militant’s association with a particular group.
However, US Congressman Alan Grayson said it was “no coincidence” that the attack took place at a gay club.
“We may have seen a horrific hate crime being committed,” he added.
Mir, a friend of Matin’s father, said the accident had nothing to do with religion, and it was probably because he saw a gay couple kiss each other in Miami.
But NBC News reported that Mattin called the emergency services before the attack and swore allegiance to the so-called (ISIS) organization.
He described the attack as “a brutal killing of dozens of innocent people.”
“It was an act of terrorism and hatred,” he said, adding that it was a heartbreaking day for the gay community.
He added that attacking any American was an attack on everyone. We are united in sadness, anger and determination to defend our people. “
The suspect, a US citizen from Port St. Lucie, Florida, of Afghan origin, was not on the terrorism watch list.
However, officials revealed that the FBI interviewed Omar Mateen twice in 2013-14 after he made “inflammatory remarks” to a colleague. But the investigation is closed.
Mayor Dyer’s 50 death toll means the Orlando attack overtakes the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 people dead.
And 53 others were wounded in the shooting.
“Today we are dealing with something that we have never imagined and unimaginable,” he said, adding that there is “an enormous amount of devastation” and “blood everywhere.”