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Orlando Nightclub Shooting: What We Know

The United States suffered its deadliest mass shooting in history when 49 people were killed and 53 wounded after a lone gunman sprayed bullets into a packed gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12. Here is what we know so far: 

The Assailant

Omar Seddique Mateen stormed into Pulse dance club at around 2:02 a.m. armed with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol and a .223-caliber AR-type, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Prior to the shooting, the 29-year-old U.S. citizen allegedly placed a call to 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Officials told CNN he also mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers just moments before committing the horrific act of violence. 

The killer, who took hostages, died in a gun battle with a SWAT team at around 5 a.m., three hours after the rampage began. 

Omar Mateen

Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen, is from Afghanistan, but the gunman was born in New York. His family later relocated to Florida, police said. He was a body builder and a security guard. 

His dad told NBC News that his son had become “very angry” when he noticed two men kissing in Miami a while back. He stated that the attack had “nothing to do with religion.” 

The shooter’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told reporters that he was “mentally unstable” and abusive. The two were married for just four months in 2009 and lived in New Jersey. “He would beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that,” Yusufiy told the Washington Post.

Mateen later remarried, to a woman named Noor Salman. They had a 3-year-old son together, CNN reported.

The FBI interviewed Mateen in 2013 for “inflammatory comments” to coworkers and then again in 2014 for possible ties to an American who carried out a suicide bombing in Syria. Ron Hopper, head of the FBI in Orlando, told CNN that both investigations were closed due to “inconclusive” findings. 

Supported by a friend, a man weeps for victims of the mass shooting just a block from the scene in Orlando on June 12, 2016.
Supported by a friend, a man weeps for victims of the mass shooting just a block from the scene in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

The Shooting

Mateen barged into Pulse at 2 a.m. just as last call was announced. “At first it sounded like it was part of the show because there was an event going on and we were all having a good time,” reveler Andy Moss told CNN. “But once people started screaming and shots just keep ringing out, you know that it’s not a show anymore.” 

At 2:09 A.M. the club posted a message on its Facebook page: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” But many couldn’t. Eddie Justice, who was among the casualties, texted his mother, begging her to call police. “Mommy I love you,” he wrote from inside the bathroom where he was trapped. “In club they shooting. I’m gonna die.” 

One person told CNN she covered herself in dead bodies to protect herself. 

Mateen held 30 patrons hostage for three hours until authorities used an armored vehicle to break down the door of the building at 5 a.m.

Marchers hold letters that spell out Orlando in support of the victims in the shooting during the annual Gay Pride parade in West Hollywood on June 12, 2016.

The Victims

A website has been set up to identify victims after their families have been notified of their deaths.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Luis S. Vielma, 22

Kimberly Morris, 37

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50

Amanda Alvear, 25

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25

 Enrique Rios, 25

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19

Cory James Connell, 21

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

Luis Daniel Conde, 39

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

A GoFundMe page started by Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, has already raised more than $1.7 million for the victims and their families.

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