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Omar Mateen: what we know about the Orlando mass shooting suspect

Authorities have not publicly identified the perpetrator, although unnamed officials have told United States media it was Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old from Fort Pierce, a city about two hours drive south of Orlando.

Sheriff Val Demmings said they are "absolutely investigating this from all parties' perspective as an act of terrorism".

He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

The attack was well organized and the shooter, who was not from the area, was well prepared, officials said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims".

"I would like to also thank all the first responders who quickly came to assist and help those in need". There were an estimated 320 people in the club when it opened Saturday night.

Authorities say Omar Mateen stormed the downtown Pulse nightclub around 2 a.m. Sunday before opening fire and taking dozens of people hostage.

The gunman held hostages for more than 2 hours and a SWAT team was able to get the shot and kill him. The shooter died in a gunfight with those officers. Nine Orlando Police Department officers were involved in the shootout, and one was shot, but is alive.

"All you saw is people running and screaming and there were bodies in the parking lot where bodies were being tagged", Christopher Hansen told CNN.

"Many people were dead and wounded".

The dance club urged patrons to "get out" and "keep running" in a post on its Facebook page.

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department's bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Orlando experienced a shooting tragedy at a nightclub in just February 2016.

 

 



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