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Cops: 'Approximately 20' Dead in Fla. Club Bloodbath

Gunman took hostages, died in firefight with SWAT team
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 12, 2016 7:13 AM CDT
Cops: 'Approximately 20' Dead in Fla. Club Bloodbath
Jermaine Towns, left, and Brandon Shuford wait down the street from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. Towns said his brother was in the club at the time. A gunman opened fire at a nightclub in central Florida, and multiple people have been wounded, police said...   (Phelan M. Ebenhack)

(Newser) – A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub, killing approximately 20 people and wounding 42 others before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said Sunday at a press conference just hours after the gunman was killed. Here's what else we know, per the AP:

  • Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of "suspicious device." He said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2am, then went back inside and took hostages.
  • Around 5am, authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages, and the suspect then died in a gunfight. Mina said the exact number of casualties isn't known, but that "approximately 20" people were dead inside the club.

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  • FBI spokesman Danny Banks said that the shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism, whether domestic or international; authorities are trying to determine whether the shooter was a lone wolf.
  • Police had said previously there was a "controlled explosion" at Pulse Orlando. Mina said that was a device intended to distract the shooter.
  • More from witnesses: Christopher Hansen was in the VIP lounge when he heard gunshots. "I was thinking, are you kidding me? So I just dropped down. I just said please, please, please, I want to make it out. And when I did, I saw people shot. I saw blood. You hope and pray you don't get shot."
(Read more mass shootings stories.)

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