Orlando shooting: Death toll reaches 50, shooter reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS

Reports state that the gunman was holed up inside and was holding hostages.

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Supported by a friend, a man weeps for victims of the mass shooting just a block from the scene in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. Fifty people died and another 53 were injured when a gunman opened fire and seized hostages at a gay nightclub in Florida, police said June 12, making it the worst mass shooting in US history.

The death toll reached 50 and 53 others were injured after a gunfire erupted at a gay nightclub in Orlando, USA early on Sunday, the police said.

The reports also stated that suspected gunman is dead and the injured have been rushed to the hospital.  

There are reports that FBI had questioned the suspected gunmen way back in 2013, but didn't found anything conclusive.  He had purchased a handgun and long gun just a week ago, as per initial reports. 

A fighter from the Islamic State group carried out today's mass shooting inside a gay club in Orlando, Florida, an IS-linked media report said, quoting an unidentified source. "The attack that targeted a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida and that left more than 100 dead and wounded was carried out by an Islamic State fighter," it said in a terse statement quoting a "source". Amaq, the IS-linked news agency, gave no further details.

US media reported that the gunman -- widely identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, an American citizen of Afghan descent -- had pledged allegiance to the jihadist group IS.

 Several patrons had posted on social media that a gunman was holed up inside and holding hostages. One man who said he was inside the club posted that the shooting broke out around 2 a.m. and that he heard about 40 shots being fired.

Javer Antonetti, 53, told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that he was near the back of the dance club when he heard the gunfire. "There were so many (shots), at least 40," he said. "I saw two guys and it was constant, like 'pow, pow, pow,'."

Police said they had carried out a "controlled explosion" at the club hours after the shooting broke out, but did not say why that was done. They described the scene as a "fluid situation". Video posted online showed a large number of police and emergency vehicles outside the nightclub. Bomb sniffing dogs were also on the scene, CNN reported.

It was the second deadly shooting at an Orlando night spot in as many nights. Late Friday a man thought to be a deranged fan fatally shot Christina Grimmie, a rising singing star and a former contestant on "The Voice", while she was signing autographs after a concert in the Florida city.


20:38 IST Sunday, 12 June 2016

The gunman behind a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida has been identified as an citizen of Afghan descent, US television networks reported on Sunday.

Quoting law enforcement sources, CBS News named the shooter as Omar Mateen, who was born to Afghan parents in 1986 and lives in Port St Lucie, Florida.

The network reported that Mateen - who died in a shootout with police after the hostage siege - has no apparent criminal history and that authorities are investigating whether he had ties to Islamic extremism.


21:56 IST Sunday, 12 June 2016

US Congressman Schiff says, according to local law enforcement, the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen declared his allegiance to ISIS.

With agency inputs

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