“This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation are an attack on all of us.” ~Barak Obama
President Obama called the Pulse attack in Orlando “an act of terror” and hate. “We grieve the brutal murder of dozens of innocent people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims.”
Moments ago, he addressed the nation:
“Specifically on the victims, the President said, ‘We need to demonstrate that we are defined more as a country by the way they lived their lives than the hate of the man who took theirs.
[UPDATED] The The Washington Times is now reporting that Omar Mateen, 29, has been identified as the Pulse nightclub gunman who killed at least 50 people and injured at least as many others during a rampage Sunday morning.
Mateen, 29, was a U.S. citizen from Port St. Lucie, Fla., the network added. He was killed after a showdown with police inside the nightclub. His parents are from Afghanistan and authorities are investigating whether he had ties to Islamic extremists, CBS said.
Mateen’s father believes it had nothing to do with religion, but said his son got very angry a few months ago to see two men kissing in Miami and believes it may be the cause (per MSNBC).
“TMZ has done a records search and found he held a Florida security officer license and a state firearms license.”
For a profile of Omar Mateen at Heavy.com, click here.
Whether it’s Islamist terror or not, it’s the worst violence against gays in U.S. history. Absolutely tragic.
Latest reports indicate 50 dead and 53 currently being treated in Orlando hospitals.
The Sword has spoken to Miami-based super agent Howard Andrew of Fabscout who furnishes models for “Gay Days” and other Orlando events.
Fortunately, it was a quiet weekend on the calendar. When asked about the condition and whereabouts of South Florida models, “so far, OK.” Howard replied, adding “so very sad.”
[UPDATED] That “so far” did not last. Howard updated his Facebook last night, “Just got word of one of my ‘boys’ murdered in Orlando. Today has been the worst day I can remember. People, love each other. Tell each other. Respect each other. Goodnight.”
The model is Emmanuel Rosado who performed under the name Emmanuel K.
Our most sincere condolences to Emmanuel’s and all of the victims’ families and friends.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Emmauel’s son and family.
— Kris Cruz (@rc_kris) June 12, 2016
Officials said a hostage situation developed after the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m Sunday. The assailant was shot dead about three hours later when a SWAT team entered the club, police said.
Special Report by NBC News
“It was tragic,” club-goer Christopher Hansen told MSNBC. “I wasn’t sure if it was the music, because … it went with the beat almost until you heard just too many shots.”It was just like — bang, bang, bang, bang, bang bang — and that’s when you just know chaos is just, it was in turmoil,” he added.
Mina Justice was outside the club trying to contact her 30-year-old son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call police. He told her he ran into a bathroom with other club patrons to hide. He then texted her: “He’s coming.”
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) June 12, 2016
“The next text said: ‘He has us, and he’s in here with us,’” she told the Associated Press. “That was the last conversation.”
Witness Anthony Torres posted to Facebook that he and his friends made it out of the club “just barely as we started to hear fire being shot.”
“They are just pulling people out in stretchers loading them up,” he said, referring to first responders. “Omg please god let everyone make it.
“People are screaming that people are dead,” Torres wrote in another post.
The shooting at the nightclub comes during a series of national celebrations that mark LGBT pride month.
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) June 12, 2016
The shooting happened the night after former The Voice singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead after performing at The Plaza Live in the same city. Grimmie was shot and killed by a man who is believed to be a deranged fan, while she signed autographs after the show. The Plaza is a mere 3.5 miles away from Pulse Nightclub.
This is a very sad and fluid situation. Stay tuned to The Sword as we update this story.