By STEVE KENNYJUNE 12, 2016
A shooting inside a downtown Orlando, Fla., nightclub led to mass casualties, according to the police, who said that at least one gunman had been found dead inside.
The shooting was reported at about 3 a.m., after last call at Pulse, one of the largest gay nightspots in the Central Florida city.
On its Twitter feed, the Police Department asked residents to “stay away from area” and said that it was seeking support from local state and federal agencies.
The club itself posted a message on its Facebook page about 3 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”
Customers streamed out of the club into a chaotic situation with little idea of where to go. “Cops were saying, ‘Go, go, clear the area,’ ” Christopher Hansen told an Orlando television station. “You don’t know who’s what and who’s where.”
Police swept inside the club and about 5 a.m. set off a “controlled explosion” in an effort to clear the club, the department said in its Twitter feed. A news conference scheduled for 4:30 a.m. was canceled.
Phone camera videos shot at the scene show police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles outside the club on South Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Streets around the the club were shut down for several blocks.
Many of the wounded were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, about three blocks from the club, which was placed on lockdown after receiving several gunshot victims. “Only essential workers are being allowed access into the building,” the hospital said in a statement. more