Orlando, Florida (CNN)An American-born man who’d pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 49 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11, authorities said.
Police: Approx. 20 dead in Orlando nightclub shooting 01:39
America’s deadliest mass shootings
Police on leave
Eleven Orlando police officers and three sheriff’s deputies who exchanged gunfire with the suspect will be temporarily relieved of duty pending an investigation.
One officer suffered an eye injury when a bullet struck his Kevlar helmet, said Danny Banks, special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Orlando bureau. The helmet saved the officer’s life, Banks said.
Orlando shooting sparks gun control, language debates
‘This is a hate crime’
The attacks were denounced on Sunday by numerous groups, including the Vatican, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Muslim leader to ISIS: 'You do not speak for us'
Muslim leader to ISIS: ‘You do not speak for us’ 01:08
“This is a hate crime, plain and simple,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said. “We condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”
Nadine Smith of Equality Florida said groups are planning vigils around the nation. “It has just been a devastating day but people are starting to rally,” she said.
Barbara Poma, owner of the Orlando nightclub Pulse, released the following statement on Sunday:
“Like everyone in the country, I am devastated about the horrific events that have taken place today. Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you.”
CNN’s terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, John Couwels, Joe Sutton, Vivian Kuo, Deborah Bloom, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and MaryLynn Ryan contributed to this report.
I would like someone to tell me, how every rifle that looks anything like an assault rifle, and even some that don’t have come to be referred to as an “assault rifle”. Some shotguns have evolved to being all black and modern looking. Even those would be called assault weapons. A 30-30, a carbine, a 22LR, a 10-22, Springfield, just about anything that is not a lever action, has suddenly become an assault rifle, no matter what rounds they shoot. Amazing…
The other thing that kills me, if you were listening when it was first announced,
they said it was “two legally purchased hund guns”. Shortly after that, they said it was two, legally purchased assault rifles. Then a little later on, it was one of each. I don’t care what the guy had, it is close to impossible for one person to shoot that many people, in that length of time, with two of anything. Killed 49 and put 52+ in the hospital? The other question I have, is why no one else in the whole bar, had weapons to stop this man with?