Orlando shooting: Some 50 people were killed and 53 others wounded after a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub, before he was killed in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said Sunday. Here are the top 5 things to know:
1. Gunman first exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went inside and took hostages.
2. Around 5 a.m., authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages, and the suspect then died in a gunfight with those officers. Police did not immediately name the gunman or provide a possible motive for the attack. Police said they had carried out a “controlled explosion” at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not explain why that was done.
3. Authorities said that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism and that they are looking into whether this was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf. “This is an incident, as I see it, that we certainly classify as domestic terror incident,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
4. A witness, Jon Alamo said he was at the back of one of the club’s rooms when a man holding a weapon came into the front of the room. “I heard 20, 40, 50 shots,” Alamo said. “The music stopped.” Club-goer Rob Rick said it happened around, 2 a.m., just before closing time. “Everybody was drinking their last sip,” he said. He estimated more than 100 people were still inside when he heard shots.
5. A bouncer knocked down a partition between the club area and an area in the back where only workers are allowed. People inside were able to then escape through the back of the club.