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FLORIDA

At least 50 people were killed and 53 others were injured when an unidentified gunman opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Florida on Sunday morning.

“50 dead in Pulse nightclub shooting. Orlando Police Chief John Mina Suspect had handgun and AR15 type rifle,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement.

“Pulse nightclub shooting: To recap media briefing – 50 are dead. Additional 53 have been taken to local hospitals,” Orlando Police tweeted.

While, the Police have identified the shooter as Omar Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan descent, Florida government has declared a state of emergency.

“Florida Gov has declared a state of emergency. City of Orlando also declared state of emergency,” Orlando Police added.

The local authorities have setup a hotline number to help people locate their family members. The hotline number for family members is 407.246.4357.

The authorities have also asked the people to work with the local blood banks to arrange donations instead of coming to the local hospitals to donate blood.

Four hours after the incident began, the Police said the shooter was dead. “The shooter inside the club is dead,” they said in a separate tweet.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina described the incident as “One of the worst mass shootings in the nation’s history”.

It was the second shooting incident in the city in just over 24 hours, coming shortly after singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead late Friday by a gunman who stormed a theater where she had just finished a gig.

Witnesses said the shooting erupted at around 2:00 AM amid throbbing music as the crowded club was nearing closing time.

Speaking to Sky News, clubber Ricardo Negron, who was inside when the shooting began, described how the gunman raked the club with bullets.

“People just dropped on the floor. I guess the shooter was shooting at the ceiling because you could see all the glass from the lamps falling,” he told the network.

He described hearing “non-stop firing” which probably lasted less than a minute but felt like a lot longer. “There was a brief pause in the shooting and some of us just got up and ran out the back.” “People have definitely been injured — or worse.”

Emergency vehicles swarmed the area, with at least one crisis command vehicle at the scene. “Shooting at Pulse Nightclub on S Orange. Multiple injuries. Stay away from area,” Orlando police wrote on Twitter.

The club advertises itself online as “Orlando’s hottest gay bar.” On its Facebook page, the club warned patrons: “Everyone get out Pulse and keep running.”

Witness Christopher Hanson said he heard “loud banging noises, like gunshots going off.”

With agency inputs.

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