Gov. Scott: ‘We Will Devote Every Resource Available to Assist with Orlando Shooting’
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott released the following statement on this morning’s shooting in Orlando.
Governor Scott said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and all those affected by this horrific tragedy. We are a strong and resilient state and we will devote every resource available to assist with the shooting in Orlando. Our state emergency operations center is also monitoring this tragic incident. I have been in constant communication with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and state and local law enforcement this morning. I would like to also thank all the first responders who quickly came to assist and help those in need.”
Governor Scott is traveling to Orlando now to meet with law enforcement and local officials. An updated schedule will be released shortly.
John Torres and John Bacon
ORLANDO — A heavily armed assailant opened fire in a packed nightclub early Sunday, killing 50 people in the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, authorities said.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said 53 people were wounded at Pulse Orlando, a gay club just south of downtown. Authorities said the massacre was being investigated as possible terrorism.
A federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY the suspect has been identified as Omar Seddique Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Fla. The suspect’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News on Sunday that he was “in shock,” but that his son had recently expressed anti-gay sentiments.
Mulitple media are reporting that Mateen is Muslim, but his father said the attack “had nothing to do with religion.”
Police Chief John Mina said the tragedy began at 2:02 a.m., when three police officers engaged the suspect in a gun battle outside the club. A hostage situation then took place inside, and a SWAT team was called in, Mina said. Police received updates from patrons trapped in the club, and decided to storm the club at about 5 a.m.
“Our biggest concern was further loss of life,” Mina said. “We exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he was dead at the scene.”