ORLANDO, Fla. - Gunman Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday, leaving at least 49 people dead and 53 wounded before he was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members.
UPDATE 11:30 p.m.
An officer’s Kevlar helmet saved his life after he was hit in the head by one of the gunman’s bullets during a shooting rampage at Pulse nightclub.
But Michael Napolitano's photo that was released Monday evening shows the damage the terrorist's bullet did to his head.
Orlando police SWAT Team Capt. Mark Canty told Channel 9 Monday that Napolitano and the others who stormed the gunman are OK.
They never cowered, not even from possible explosives.
“After we heard about the bomb, typically the response is to back away. But since we knew there were people in there, my guys stayed right there. I probably couldn't have pried them away from the door because they knew that those people's lives were in danger,” Canty said.
They stormed the building three hours after the massacre started, but a lot of people were rescued in between.
An off-duty officer and two others had opened fire, forcing gunman Omar Mateen to retreat to a bathroom where he took hostages.
While he was surrounded, some officers were able to rescue some people, and some were wounded and bleeding.
Canty said there was a turning point when Orlando Police Chief John Mina made the call that they had to force their way in to rescue more people.
“He did say he had a vest and he did talk about putting vests on the hostages,” said Canty.
Mina said they used explosives to create an escape hatch.
“We had to use a Bearcat; broke a hole through the wall, a 3-foot hole. People came running out, and then the gunman came out and we returned fire and killed him,” said Mina.
All 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting have been named, with the last victim identified as Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25. List of Orlando shooting victims
President Obama will be traveling to Orlando Thursday to pay his respects to the victims’ families and loved ones, a White House official said.
"On Thursday, the President will travel to Orlando, Florida to pay his respects to victims' families, and to stand in solidarity with the community as they embark on their recovery. We will have more information on the President's trip in the coming days," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
A vigil was held outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Monday in honor of the victims who died in the Orlando nightclub mass shooting on Sunday.
One speaker said, "Hate, bigotry and intolerance are our common enemies."
Thousands gathered holding signs and candles as the names of the victims were read aloud.
The owners of Pulse nightclub said, “We are not leaving. We are here to stay. We will be bigger and better than you can imagine.”
This message was clear throughout the vigil and amid the songs and many speeches given: “Peace and love.”
The 48th victim of the Pulse Orlando mass shooting has been identified as Akyra Monet Murray, 18.
Murray, who was from Philadelphia, was in Orlando with her family, celebrating her graduation from West Catholic Preparatory High School. Her mother, Natalie Murray, she was on the phone with her wounded daughter as she cowered in a bathroom stall hiding from the shooter.
Natalie Murray said Akyra sent a text message at 2 a.m. on Sunday, pleading for her parents to pick her up from the nightclub because there had been a shooting.
Moments later, Akyra called her mother screaming, saying she was losing a lot of blood.
The 18-year-old was an honors student who graduated third in her class last week. She was headed to Mercyhurst College in Erie on a full basketball scholarship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sources told Channel 9 Monday that law enforcement could possibly make an arrest in the next few days of someone who might have been aware that Mateen was planning to carryout the mass shooting inside Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people on Sunday.
"We have no reason to believe that anyone connected to this crime is placing the public in imminent danger at this time," said US Attorney Lee Bentley.
The owner of the St. Lucie Shooting Center where Omar Mateen purchased weapons days before he massacred 49 people in Orlando, said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “did not shut us down today. We decided to shut the doors so ATF could complete the investigation.”
"I'm just sorry he picked my place. I wish he picked no place," said owner Edward Henson.
Investigators said Mateen purchased a rifle and a handgun from the St. Lucie Shooting Center days before he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“He passed a background check,” said Henson.
ATF Special Agent Trevor Velinor said during a news conference Sunday that Mateen bought the weapons legally within the last week.
"If he hadn't purchased them from us I'm sure he would've gotten them from another shop in the area."-gun shop owner pic.twitter.com/1WkvYVrpQ7— Daralene Jones (@DJonesWFTV) June 13, 2016
Channel 9 found out that 202 rounds were fired during the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting Sunday, a law enforcement source said. That includes the gun battle between Omar Mateen and law enforcement, the source said.
The FBI's director said the agency is trying to determine whether the Orlando nightclub shooter had recently scouted Walt Disney World and other locations as potential targets.
Director James Comey made the comments at a Monday news conference about the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. When asked whether Disney and other locations had been scouted, Comey said, "We're still working through that."
He also said he wasn't in a position to comment further.
The Associated Press said that People.com, citing an unnamed federal law enforcement source, reported that Omar Mateen had recently scouted the theme park.
The report said he visited with his wife.
According to AP, representatives for Walt Disney World didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.
An eleventh victim has been identified: Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
10 more victims have been identified Monday afternoon.
The newly identified victims are:
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
- Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29
The FBI held a news conference Monday on the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.
The Director of the FBI, James Comey, said that Omar Mateen spoke with 911 multiple times and told the operator he pledged loyalty to Islamic State.
Comey said that during Mateen’s first interrogation, he said, “He hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so that he could martyr himself.”
Comey said the FBI is continuing its investigation.
“We’re also going to look hard at our own work to see whether there is something we could have done differently. So far, the honest answer is, ‘I don’t think so.’ I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents could have don’t differently,” Comey said.
Senate Democrats make clear they will push on gun controls in wake of Orlando pic.twitter.com/5oVQPkyHno— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) June 13, 2016
“Most Americans believe there should be some sensible gun control. When is Congress going to do more than just a moment of silence and prayer?” Rep. Corrine Brown said.
FBI Director James Comey said the Orlando nightclub shooter espoused support for a jumble of often-conflicting Islamic organizations.
He said that shooter called 911 during the attack and not only pledged loyalty to the Islamic State but also expressed solidarity with the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing and a suicide bomber who died on behalf of the al-Nusra front, a group at odds with the Islamic State.
Comey said in the past few years, the gunman also expressed support for both al-Qaida and its enemy Hezbollah.
The FBI investigated Omar Mateen for 10 months beginning in May 2013 after he was said to have inflammatory remarks in support of terrorists.
Comey said investigators introduced him to confidential sources, followed him and reviewed some of his communications, but Mateen claimed he made the remarks in anger because co-workers were teasing and discriminating against him because he was Muslim.
Orlando Health said five shooting victims are hospitalized in grave condition. A number of patients remain critically ill and in shock.
The hospital said it treated 44 victims, nine of whom have died. An additional 29 people remain hospitalized and six have been discharged.
The emergency room has reopened to the general public.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the PULSE nightclub victims and their families as we continue to work through this trying time together," the hospital said.
Around 300 people came out and put down flowers. They're all Red Lobster employees, who work across the street. pic.twitter.com/WzsD7MkJXx— Myrt Price (@MPriceWFTV) June 13, 2016
11:40 a.m. update
11:10 a.m. Update
The list of people identified as victims in Sunday's Pulse nightclub mass shooting has increased to 36.
Previously released victims' names:
- Joel Rayon Paniague, 32
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Cory James Connell, 21
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Denoka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
- Edward Sotomayor Jr. ,34
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
10:15 a.m. Update
As the investigation into Sunday's fatal mass shooting at Pulse nightclub moves forward, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said shooter Omar Mateen was not the only person being investigated.
Mateen died in a shootout with police at the scene, and law enforcement does not believe there were any other shooters involved.
But that doesn't mean Mateen wasn't assisted before he walked into the club, armed with an AR-15 rifle, handgun and what looked like a bomb strapped to his chest, Bentley said.
It is too soon to know for sure, he said.
“We’ve been collecting a great amount of electronic and physical evidence – there is an ongoing criminal investigation, it is still in the early stages,” he said. “We do not know yet if anyone else will be charged in connection with this crime.”
“I do want you to know that we have no reason to believe that anyone connected to this crime is placing the public in imminent danger at this time,” he said. “But there is an investigation of other persons. We’re working as diligently as we can on that.”
“We have teams of prosecutors as well as teams of agents working around the clock, getting search warrants and court orders,” he said. “If anyone else was involved in this crime, they will be prosecuted.”
8:52 a.m. Update:
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's comments Monday:
"Yesterday was the most horrific day in the history of the city of Orlando, and yet I stand here prouder today of our community than ever," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Monday.
Dyer commended the community's reaction to Sunday's shooting, which ended with 49 victims killed and another 53 wounded.
"We came together, united to support the families and friends of the victims," he said. "We learned of the heroic acts of our Orlando Police Department and other local law enforcement.
"Hundreds of lives were saved through the course of that night."
“OPD and other law enforcement agencies responded heroically, allowing hundreds to escape and then breaching the wall, killing the bad guy and rescuing dozens of hostages.”
Dyer ended by vowing he and the citizens of Orlando would overcome Sunday's tragedy.
“We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater,” he said. “We will be defined by how we respond, how we treat each other, and this community has already stepped up to do that.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott's comments Monday:
“This is a wonderful community we live in, this is a wonderful state, we are the best melting pot in the world,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “We have 20 million people who live here, we’ll have over 100 million people visit here because it is a wonderful place to both live and visit.”
“We’re going to continue to work hard to take care of these families and get this community back to work as quickly as we can, but right now it is time to grieve for each family member who has somebody in the hospital injured, or who lost someone.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina's comments Monday:
Leading up to the final shootout with gunman Omar Mateen, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said making the decision to breach the bathroom where the man was holed up was difficult.
In the end, though, the risk of not advancing outweighed the risk of making a move, he said.
“Based on statements made by the suspect and information we received from the suspect and from the hostages and people inside, we believed further loss of life was imminent," Mina said.
He went on to applaud his officers and other members of law enforcement that responded to the shooting scene.
“At this time I just want to say that OPD officers, from the initial responders to all the other law enforcement, acted heroically and courageously and saved many lives during this operation,” he said.
7:27 a.m. Update:
- Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed 48 of 49 of the victims have been identified.
- Authorities continue to notify the next of kin.
- The FBI removed all of the bodies from the club around 11 p.m. Sunday.
- The FBI says the investigation could take some time.
- The FBI commended the work of the first responders.
- The FBI clarified the number of dead; there are 49 dead. That does not include the shooter.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency for the state of Florida.
7 a.m. Update:
Orlando Police say they will provide additional information about their investigation in a live media conference at 7:30 a.m.
The Associated Press is reporting Islamic State radio in Beirut calls Orlando mass shooter Omar Mateen "one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America."
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