Moments of sheer terror in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A man entered the room and started firing wildly, killing more than 20 people, according to local media. Then, the assailant barricaded himself inside the club, taking several people hostage for hours. Many people were injured, about forty people, according to local police, whereas the assailant, after hours of negotiations, has died. The Pulse Club, the room where the man locked himself together with the hostages, published a message on its Facebook page immediately after the assault: “Rush out of the Pulse”.
“It is a tragedy for our community. At least 20 people died. And 42 people were transported to the hospital,” said John Mina, the Orange County sheriff in a press conference at dawn. According to preliminary reports, the man broke into the gay club and opened fire. Then, he barricaded himself in the club where he held several people hostage. While agents were “reacting to the blows” outside – reported the local media – the hostages locked up in the club asked for help via Twitter. “Four of us are still hidden – wrote one of them -. Lights are out in the club. The cops are here, but have not come in yet.”
Outside the nightclub, shortly before the news about the assailant’s death, people heard a loud explosion, while a reporter of the local TV station was making a live reportage. The journalist spoke of a bomb detonated by the police. The latter, in fact, had reached the place of the attack with bomb-sniffing dogs. The news on the use of explosive has been confirmed by police.
At the time of the shooting, according to a witness, there were at least 100 people in the nightclub attended by the LGBT community, when the man broke in and started shooting at the ceiling and against the crowd. “I was there – says Ricardo J. Negron Almodovar on Twitter. A man opened fire at around 2 a.m. People on the dance floor threw themselves down on the floor. Some of us were close to the bar and the exit, and managed to get out. We ran outside. I am safe and sound at home. I hope the others are okay.”
No concrete hypotheses were put forward yet with regard to the motive, although FBI mentioned “terrorism”, generally speaking, without specifying whether it is domestic or international terrorism. Some media put forward the hypothesis of connections to the Islamic world. Meanwhile, social networks are flooded with images of the rescue operations, ambulances, police and bodies on the ground or on stretchers, taken by those who managed to flee from yet another killing spree.