Reports are calling it the deadliest mass shooting and killing spree in U.S. history.
At around 2AM Sunday, an individual opened fire at a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, FL. He was heavily armed.
As updates came pouring in, the body count began to rise from 20, and now to 50 people.
Mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed that 50 people were killed (including the shooter) and 53 wounded in the attack at Pulse Orlando, a gay club just south of downtown.
Police Chief John Mina said the tragedy began when three police officers engaged in a gun battle with a suspect outside the club. A hostage situation then took place inside, and a SWAT team was called in, Mina said.
"Tonight our community witnessed a horrific crime… that will have a lasting effect on our community," a solemn Dyer said.
While reports have labeled the shooting an act of domestic terrorism, it is unclear what the religious ties and motivation was of the killer.
Family members who are trying to locate relatives can call 407-246-4357. A family assistance center has been set up at the Hampton Inn at 43 Columbia Street in Orlando. The FBI has asked anyone who was at the club before the shooting and anyone with tips to call 1-800-CALL-FBI ( 1-800-225-5324).