Eyewitness Accounts Of The Orlando Nightclub Shooting Are Chilling
After a fatal mass shooting at Pulse, a gay club, early Sunday morning, eyewitness accounts of the Orlando nightclub shooting have begun to emerge, and they are harrowing. The shooting began around 2 a.m., according to CNN, and resulted in at least 50 fatalities and 50 people wounded. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said police shot and killed the gunman, and the shooting is being treated as an act of terrorism, with the FBI involved.
(Update: The FBI has updated the death toll to 49 victims. The shooter was also killed.)
According to Reuters, a police officer working a security shift at the nightclub opened fire on the shooter, which resulted in a hostage situation. Mina said Sunday that the gunman was carrying an assault rifle, a handgun, and a "device" that authorities haven't yet identified. Shortly after the first police officer exchanged fire with him, police began hearing from people inside the club. At around 5 a.m., officers entered the club and fatally shot the gunman. Reuters reported that it was unclear when he had shot those killed and wounded.
Since the shooting, those who were inside the club at the time have given their accounts of what it was like to be inside during the terrifying events at Pulse. Christopher Hansen, a patron who was inside the club, said afterwards that the gunshots came "just one after another after another. It could have lasted a whole song," according to CNN. USA Today reported that Hansen also described the scene at Pulse on a live video taken by Orlando Sentinel reporter Christal Hayes:
Hansen told Hayes that he was actually relieved by the sound of gunshots:
According to Reuters, 53-year-old Javer Antonetti was also at Pulse and told The Orlando Sentinel, "There were so many (shots), at least 40... I saw two guys and it was constant, like 'pow, pow, pow'."
Anthony Torres, his sister, and some friends got up to leave right before the shooting started, he posted on his Facebook page:
Some patrons tweeted that they were hiding in the bathroom:
Omg. Shooting at pulse. We hid in the bathroom. And we can't find our friends.— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) June 12, 2016
Mina said in a press conference Sunday morning that he believed storming building saved 30 lives.
As USA Today noted, the Orlando police department is asking all witnesses to come to police headquarters at 100 S. Hughey Ave.
Anyone who was at Pulse nightclub and was a witness Please come to the Orlando Police HQ, 100 S. Hughey Ave.— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016