Orlando attack is deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

·Reporter
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando police headquarters on Sunday, after a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub, which left at least 50 people dead. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)
Friends and family members embrace outside Orlando police headquarters on Sunday, after a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub, which left at least 50 people dead. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)

Police have confirmed that 50 people were killed in the Sunday morning shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, opened fire inside the popular gay club Pulse in Orlando at around 2 a.m. According to police, the shooting — which authorities described as a “domestic terror attack” — quickly turned into a hostage situation, as the 300-plus people inside the club tried to escape.

Mateen was ultimately killed by SWAT team officers approximately three hours after he began shooting.

It was initially reported that 20 people had been killed in the attack, but at a news conference later Sunday morning, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the death toll was approximately 50, in addition to Mateen.

Slideshow: Shooting rampage at Florida nightclub >>>

The U.S. has a long history of mass shootings. Prior to Sunday’s attack in Orlando, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting had been the deadliest, with 32 fatalities in addition to the shooter.

deadliest attacks
(AP/Yahoo News)

Other mass shootings in recent years include the 1999 attack that left 13 dead at Columbine High School in Colorado; the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26; the June 2015 shooting spree that killed nine people at a church in South Carolina; and the December 2015 attack at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 dead.


Follow here for live updates on the Orlando nightclub shooting.

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