A mass shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub left multiple people wounded early Sunday morning, and some are calling for further restrictions on guns in Florida.
The Orlando Police Department described it as a “mass casualty situation.” The department also advised people to “stay away from area.”
Just before 6 a.m. local time, police said the gunman was dead.
Witnesses said they heard at least 40 shots fired inside the club and estimated that at least 20 people had been shot.
Dozens of emergency vehicles surrounded the chaotic scene at the popular gay club at 1912 S. Orange Ave. after the 2 a.m. shooting and rescue squads were transporting multiple victims to area hospitals.
The Orlando Fire Department called for its bomb squad and hazardous material team to the scene after 3 a.m. Police K-9 dogs are searching the area around nearby Orlando Regional Medical Center with an armed deputy in head-to-toe military gear.
Emergency workers were seen taking victims away from the scene in large trucks–in one case, an emergency worker was doing chest compressions on one of the victims.
Just after the shooting, Pulse Orlando posted a note to its web page that said “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” The popular gay bar was full of people at the time of the incident.
Emotional witnesses and family members of those who were in the club surrounded the area around the club after the shooting, which one witness said lasted the duration of an entire song.
Javer Antonetti, 53, went out to the club with his brother. He was toward the back of the room when he heard shots ring out.
“There were so many, at least 40,” he said. “I saw two guys and it was constant, like ‘pow, pow, pow,’ ” he said.
He said he ran out of the club. His brother is on crutches and was stuck inside. Antonetti said authorities were able to help save his brother, who he says is uninjured but still near the club.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “Police told me he’s safe but he’s still stuck back there.”
He’s waiting near Orlando Regional Medical Center. Antonetti noticed when he made it out safe that he has blood smears on his shirt. He said he doesn’t know how they got there and didn’t see how many were injured.
Witness Rosie Feba said she took her girlfriend to the club for the first time Saturday night.
It was near closing time.
“She told me someone was shooting. Everyone was getting on the floor,” Feba said. “I told her I didn’t think it was real, I thought it was just part of the music, until I saw fire coming out of his gun.”
Feba and her girlfriend ran out of the club. On the way out, they saw a man who had been shot.
Feba grabbed him. Others around her called 911. Some of the man’s blood stained the sleeve of her striped T-shirt.
Both Feba and her girlfriend were unharmed, but shaken. They waited in a CVS parking lot for more information.
Friday night, singer Christina Grimmie was fatally shot as she signed autographs after performing at the Plaza Live theater in Orlando. Grimmie had gained fame as a YouTube performer and a contestant on “The Voice.”
(via: Los Angeles Times)