I want to ask when the gun violence will finally stop in this country. But I know better than to ask, because the answer is “not anytime soon.”
A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub, killing approximately 20 people dead and wounding 42 others before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said Sunday.
Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of “suspicious device.” He said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went back inside and took hostages.
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. Mina said police have not determined an exact number of casualties, but that “approximately 20” people were dead inside the club.
FBI spokesman Danny Banks said during a news conference that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether this was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.
Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a “controlled explosion” at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando. Mina said that noise was caused by a device intended to distract the shooter.
Just one day after the murder of singer Christina Grimmie in Orlando.
Just a few days ago, in Boston, a 17-year-old child, Raekwon Brown, died as he tried to push a 67-year-old woman out of harm’s way after she was caught in the crossfire of a street shooting. He did not deserve to die. Neither did Christina Grimmie, nor the 20 people who lost their lives in Orlando last night.
When is the bloodshed going to stop? When will the NRA stop facilitating murder, including murder committed by terrorists?
We’re going to say “Enough is Enough!” at some point, right?
UPDATE: The death toll now stands at 50. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the New York Times.
SECOND UPDATE: NBC News on the homophobia behind the massacre in Orlando. Plus, more from Media Matters and Think Progress.
THIRD UPDATE: The Washington Post on the violent, misogynist past of Omar Mateen.
FOURTH UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times on a thwarted attempt at homophobic mass murder today on the West Coast. Plus, NBC News reports that Mateen was inspired by ISIS. More from the Boston Globe.
FIFTH UPDATE: Thank you, Mr. President, for your courageous words, which will bring healing to a literally wounded nation.
SIXTH UPDATE: More from NBC Nightly News, PBS NewsHour and CBS Evening News.