“This was an act of terror,” said President Barack Obama during a news briefing at the White House. “This was an act of hate.”
Media are reporting that alleged shooter Omar Mateen called 9-1-1 prior to entering the gay club Pulse shortly before 2 a.m. During the 9-1-1 call he announced the attack and “pledged his allegiance to ISIS,” the Islamic group waging war in Iraq and Syria.
Mateen was shot at as he tried to exit the club by a uniform police officer, and retreated back into the club where he held hostages. Orlando Police Department’s SWAT team raided the club shortly before 5 am and Mateen was killed in a shoot out.
Officials in Orlando announced 50 people have been killed in the shooting, and another 53 are in the hospital with serious injuries.
It is the most deadly mass shooting in American history.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a man driving a vehicle with Indiana license plates has been arrested on his way to the LA Pride Parade. The Los Angeles Times reports the man had “possible explosives” and guns as well as ammunition in his vehicle.
Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski tells Between The Lines that no alert has been issued by Homeland Security or the FBI. He said a briefing had been held with the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center and that there is no indication of further threats beyond Florida.
Michigan State Police spokesperson Shanon Banner tells BTL that no alerts or warnings related to potential threats to LGBT gathering places has ever been issued by FBI or Homeland Security.
President Obama has issued a proclamation that reads in part, “As a mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror perpetrated on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, June 16, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”
Donations to Victims
“Individuals in the LGBTQ community have been targeted for violence frequently over the years, but nothing on this scale,” said Tracy Baim, spokesperson for NGMA and publisher of Windy City Times. “We want to encourage the community to show their support by donating to the victims at https://www.gofundme.com/2942a444 . We also send our support to our member paper Watermark during this difficult time for their community.”
The victim’s fund was set up by Equality Florida.