ORLANDO, Fla –
Approximately 50 people were killed inside Pulse nightclub in Florida, and at least 53 have been hospitalized, according to the Orlando Police Department. The tragedy has been called one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
The shooter has been identified by officials as Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida. Police said Mateen was armed with an assault-type rifle, a handgun and a third suspicious device.
Mateen's ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy spoke about him during a media conference Sunday night.
“When he would get in his tempers he would express hate towards things, towards everything,” Yusufiy said. “In that respect, yeah, but it was at these moments you would see his emotional stability turning totally different”
She said Mateen was abusive toward her. The couple divorced in 2011.
Mateen remarried to Noor Zahi. He is a father to a 3 year-old-son.
The names of several people Mateen killed have been released. They are:
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
- Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Cory James Connell, 21
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
- Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41
Moments before the shooting Mateen called 911 to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIS before attacking the LGBT nightclub, law enforcement sources told NBC News.
Equality Florida, the state's LGBT civil rights organization, has started a GoFundMe account to collect money in support of the victims. According to the organization, the money will go directly to the families. So far, the fundraiser has received more than $1.3 million.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism, according to lead special agent Danny Banks.
WKMG reports Sen. Bill Nelson said there appears to be connection to radical Islamic terrorism, possibly ISIS.
"I asked the FBI if there was any connection to Islamic radicalism. There appears to be. But they are naturally cautious and waiting throughout to see if this is, facts emerge," Nelson said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
. @ChiefJohnMina One of the worst mass shootings in our nation's history. pic.twitter.com/OBKbnq5W0O— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
Police had previously said on Twitter that there was a "controlled explosion" at the scene of the shooting. Mina said that noise was caused by a device intended to distract the shooter.
The club warned people on its Facebook page to get out of the club and keep running.
Mina Justice was outside the club trying to contact her son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call police.
Eddie told his mother he ran into the bathroom with other club patrons to hide and then texted her: "He's coming."
Justice told the Associated Press, the message was followed with a text saying, "He has us, and he's in here with us."
Justice said, "That was the last conversation."
Mir Seddique, Mateen's father told NBC News, "This has nothing to do with religion."
Seddique said his son became angry after he saw two men kissing a couple of months ago in Miami and thinks that may be related to the shooting.
"We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren't aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country," Seddique said.
"We are a united community. What we saw last night does not reflect what we feel in our hearts and souls here in Orange County." -Mayor Teresa Jacobs STORY --> http://bit.ly/1UofbjFPosted by News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando on Sunday, June 12, 2016
OPD first responders and SWAT rescued at least 30 people from inside the club and brought them out alive. pic.twitter.com/KFIdLhxeDI— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
Officials update Orlando shootingPosted by KPRC2 Syan Rhodes on Sunday, June 12, 2016
Texas Governor Greg Abbott showed his support for the lives lost and families impacted by hanging the Florida Flag between the Texas and United States flag at the Governor's Mansion.