50 dead in mass shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

policeFifty people are dead and 53 more injured in a mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub early Sunday morning.

The shooter, Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., an hour and a half drive from Orlando, was shot and killed by police during a SWAT team raid of a hostage situation that ensued after the initial wave of attacks that saved dozens more, according to reports.

Mateen had been investigated in the past for possible ties to terror groups, and a federal law enforcement official said Sunday that he called 911 moments before the 2 a.m. attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS.

The shooting is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The 2007 massacre on the campus of Virginia Tech that killed 32 had been the deadliest mass shooting to date.

“The news this morning of senseless violence in Orlando is absolutely horrifying: the deadliest shooting in our nation’s history,” Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Sunday. “Pam and I are keeping the victims and their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. We must support the first responders, law enforcement, LGBT community, and all those affected by this tragic event.”

Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodatte also offered a statement on the shooting.

Virginia Organizing, a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization dedicated to creating a more just Virginia for all people, released the following statement on the massacre in Orlando:

“As an ally organization, Virginia Organizing is shocked and horrified by the massacre in Orlando targeting members of the LGBTQ community on a night when mostly Latina/o people were in the club,” said Ladelle McWhorter, Virginia Organizing Chairperson. “Virginia is not immune from attacks like this as evidenced by the attack on a gay bar in Roanoke in 2000. Right now, we need to stop hate-fueled rhetoric that targets specific people groups. Latina/o and LGBTQ people were killed for simply existing.”

McWhorter continued, “Virginia Organizing believes that all people deserve to love whomever they choose without fear of violence from hateful people. As our state and our nation is reeling from this attack, we need to focus on love — love for our brothers and sisters without regard to their race, sex, religion, ability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender expression. We remain dedicated to anti-discrimination and equal rights for all people and we stand in solidarity with our neighbors in Florida and mourn with the LGBTQ community and all who lost a sense of security on Saturday night.”

         
 

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