The latest in the investigation of the Orlando nightclub massacre and the shooter, Omar Mateen:
- Worst mass killing in U.S. history
- 49 people killed, at least 53 injured
- Killer pledged allegiance to ISIS
- Accomplice could be arrested in days
- President Obama to be in Orlando on Thursday
Gun sales are poised to spike as talk of assault rifle bans and restrictions have reemerged in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub over the weekend, which is expected to prompt some anxious buyers to make purchases while they think they still can.
But because the Orlando shooting was just the latest in a string of mass shootings in recent years involving semi-automatic, AR-15 style assault rifles, demand for the guns may be muted when compared to the aftermath of previous shootings, according to at least on local gun shop owner.
“There’ll be a knee-jerk reaction from the public that will drive sales for awhile,” said John Thyne, owner of Peabody Sports gun shop in Springboro. “But this is a different game. The Obama elections, the Sandy Hook (elementary school) shooting, the San Bernardino shooting and others already shook out a lot of people. In other words, a lot of people who didn’t have these guns, but contemplated having them, have already bought them.”
Six people wounded in the Orlando nightclub shooting are `critically ill,’ and five are in `guarded’ condition, doctors said during a press conference. Additionally, 27 patients remain in the hospital and eight operations are scheduled.
Angel Colon, who was injured during the shooting, described the horrific scene to the media.
“There’s just bodies everywhere. I’m in pain,” he said.
Colon added: “By the glory of God, he shoots toward my head, and it hits my hand.”
As patients started coming into hospital, doctors didn’t know what to expect.
“We didn’t know quite what was about to hit us,” one doctor said.
Another doctor added: “This was the largest disaster that we probably could have imagined.”
UPDATE @6 a.m. 6/14/16
Eight trauma surgeons and two survivors from the Pulse nightclub shooting will share their story today.
The Orlando Regional Medical Center’s trauma surgeons were among the first to learn of the shooting and the first to respond. Two patients will join the surgeons in telling their story in how the surgeons’ efforts saved their lives.
The doctors and survivors are expected to speak at 10:30 a.m. today.
UPDATE @ 10:05 p.m. 6/13/16
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was gay and sometimes hung out at gay nightclubs, a former classmate of Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said, noting that Mateen once asked him out.
The former classmate also said Mateen asked him out romantically.
In another development, President Obama is to be in Orlando on Thursday.
UPDATE @ 5:40 p.m.:
Sources are telling our reporters in Orlando that law enforcement will make an arrest in the next few days of someone who allegedly helped the Orlando gunman carry out the mass shooting inside a nightclub.
UPDATE @ 5:30 p.m.:
The gunman whose attack on a gay nightclub left 49 victims dead appears to have been a “homegrown extremist” who espoused support for a jumble of often-conflicting Islamic radical groups, the White House and the FBI said Monday, the Associated Press reported.
As Orlando mourned its dead with flowers, candles and vigils, counterterrorism investigators dug into the background of 29-year-old Omar Mateen for clues to why the American-born Muslim carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network,” said FBI Director James Comey. But he said Mateen was clearly “radicalized,” at least in part via the internet.
UPDATE @ 1:18 p.m.:
A Cleveland native is one of 49 victims who was killed in the massacre, according to media reports. The man is identified as Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Reuters reported.
Omar Mateen, 27, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS before opening fire inside the club.
The gunman wielded an assault-type rifle and a handgun inside a crowded Florida nightclub early Sunday, killing at least 50 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. The death toll represents the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
At least 53 other people were hospitalized, most in critical condition, officials said. A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.
The city of Orlando is beginning to release names of the shooting victims at this site: http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/
President Barack Obama says the nightclub shooting in Orlando was an “act of terror” and an “act of hate.”
He says the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism and that no effort will be spared to determine whether the shooter was affiliated with terrorist groups.
Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, told news agencies that his son was upset after seeing men kissing a couple of months ago.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” Seddique said. “We are in shock like the whole country.”
The attack had nothing to do with religion, he said.
The FBI says agents twice investigated the man who killed 50 people inside a gay nightclub, but closed those cases after interviewing him.
FBI agent Ronald Hopper said Sunday that Omar Mateen had been interviewed in 2013 and 2014. Hopper said agents first investigated Mateen after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said all of the dead were killed with the assault rifle.
“There’s blood everywhere,” Dyer said.
The suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the gay club around 2 a.m., when more than 300 people were inside. The gunman then went back inside and took hostages, Police Chief John Mina said.
Officials sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages. Dozens of police vehicles, including a SWAT team, swarmed the area around the club. At least two police pickup trucks were seen taking what appeared to be shooting victims to the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Police said via Twitter that a noise heard near the shooting site was a “controlled explosion.”
Pulse Orlando posted on its own Facebook page around 2 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Just before 6 a.m., the club posted an update: “As soon as we have any information we will update everyone. Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and love.”
WHIO’s Christina Casale just happened to be taking a family vacation to Disney World Orlando Resort when the Pulse shooting occurred.
“Even before the incident on Saturday, my husband and I noticed a little tightening of security when we shifted from afternoon to evening,” Casale said, looking back at the weekend’s events.
Casale said she, her husband, her daughter, and her daughter’s friends were unaware of the shooting until Sunday afternoon. However, they “noticed the more thorough checking of bags” and security guards having more of a presence when entering the park on Sunday.
Casale said she and her group all feel safe on Disney property and are only using Disney transportation for the remainder of their vacation.
A.J. Wagner, a retired Montgomery County Common Pleas judge and a current member of state school board, said this latest shooting points to an ongoing debate over sensible gun control.
“Why can’t we have the kinds of sensible gun control that make sure that those folks who are mentally disturbed or who are having issues, don’t have guns?” he said. “When somebody exhibits some kind of mental illness the guns have got to be removed from their house. When somebody displays some kind of tendency toward violence, such as domestic violence, anger, and there’s a gun in the house, get it out of the house.”
As for the gunman being able to access a crowded club, Wagner said, “I happen to know that from my experience on the bench that there are a number of clubs that already do have security at the door and check for guns and make sure there aren’t weapons when people come in. But if somebody is determined to come in with guns a-blazing, so to speak, they can get in and cause this kind of damage. A guard at the door isn’t going to stop that.”
The incident follows the fatal shooting late Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on “The Voice.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow our coverage of the Orlando shooting
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