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The death toll in Orlando has reached 50, making the rampage at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Fifty-three people were also seriously injured.

The shooter has been identified as 29-year-old Omar S. Mateen, a U.S. citizen and Port St. Lucie, Florida resident who may have “leanings toward Islamic State militants,” Reuters reports.

He had a license to carry a firearm.

Asked if the FBI suspected the gunman might have had inclinations toward militant Islam, including a possible sympathy for Islamic State, Ronald Hopper, an assistant FBI agent in charge, told reporters: “We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology. But right now we can’t say definitively.”

The FBI said it was still trying to pin down whether the mass shooting was a hate crime against gays or a terrorist act.

According to the Huffington Post, the father of the suspected gunman says his son was not driven by religious ideology, but instead a gay kiss he witnessed between two men in Miami a few months ago.

In a statement to NBC News, Mir Seddique said his family was “in shock” after the shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning.


“We’re apologizing for the whole incident,” read Seddique’s statement. “We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country. This had nothing to do with religion.”

He says his son got “very angry” when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago, and believes that was part of his son’s motive.

Authorities say Mateen, who was believed to be armed with a handgun and an assault-type weapon, acted alone.

UPDATED: Sunday, June 12, 2016 9:50 AM ET

President Barack Obama has been briefed on the Pulse nightclub shooting that left mass casualties, according to a White House statement released Sunday morning.

A mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub left 20 people dead and more than 40 injured, CNN reports.

Authorities are considering the incident an act of domestic terrorism. The shooting began around 2 a.m. at Pulse nightclub, described as the “hottest gay bar” in the city.  At least 42 people were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Sunday.

“It’s appears he was organized and well-prepared,” the chief said, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”

An officer, who responded to the scene shortly after the incident began, engaged in a shootout outside of the club, the report says. The gunman then ran into the club, turning the terrifying ordeal into a hostage situation. Officers who arrived on the scene were able to gain access to the club after using an armored vehicle to break down the door.

The gunman, who has not been identified, was shot and killed by police.

From CNN:

“It’s just shocking,” said Christopher Hansen who was inside Pulse. He heard gunshots, “just one after another after another. It could have lasted a whole song,” he said.

“Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running,” the nightclub posted on its Facebook page shortly after the violence began.

This is a developing story.



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50 Killed In Orlando Nightclub Shooting, Deadliest Mass Shooting In U.S. History  was originally published on