Canadians react to Orlando gay nightclub shooting that killed 50 people

Jun 12 2016, 4:10 pm

A mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of Sunday has been deemed the worst mass shooting in the United States and deadliest terrorist attack in the country since 9/11.

According to NBC News, at least 50 people are dead another 50 people were injured in the incident at Pulse Nightclub when shots began ringing out at about 2 am local time. Approximately 320 people were inside the nightclub when the shooting began. A post on the nightclub’s Facebook page shortly after the shootings began read: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

The perpetrator has been identified as Omar Mateen, an American-born citizen who resided in St. Lucie County, another community in Florida.

He was carrying an assault rifle, handgun, and a suspicious device that police initially believed was an explosive. Gunfire was also exchanged with a police officer who was working at the nightclub before the gunman began taking hostages.

Mateen was killed at approximately 5 am local time after the SWAT team was sent in to rescue the hostages, reports ABC News.

US President Obama is scheduled to make an address at 1:30 pm EST. A statement released by the White House earlier this morning reads: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

Long lines outside several blood donation centres in Florida have been reported as of this morning.

Candlelight vigils for the victims are planned Sunday night in Toronto and Vancouver.

Reaction from Canadian leaders:

Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia:

Harjit Sajan, MP for Vancouver South and Minister of National Defence:

Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta:

Norm Kelly, Toronto City Councillor:

Tom Mulcair, Leader of the Federal NDP:

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario:

Rob Oliphant, MP for Toronto Don Valley:

S Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West End:

John Tory, Mayor of Toronto:

Scott Brison, MP for Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia:

Ralph Goodale, MP for Regina-Wascana/Ministre and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness:

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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