Timeline of events in Orlando gay nightclub shooting

World Today

Nightclub Shooting FloridaMourners gather outside the visitation for Pulse nightclub shooting victim Javier Jorge-Reyes Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Timeline on the shooting at an Orlando nightclub (all times local):

Learn more about the gun used in the Orlando shooting

Learn more about the gun used in the Orlando shooting

The gun is similiar to the AR-15 assault rifle, which was first developed for military use in the Vietnam War.

5:30 p.m. 

The owner of a gun shop in Florida says the gunman in the Orlando nightclub shootings came to his shop to buy body armor and 1,000 rounds of ammunition about five weeks before the rampage.

Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, says the shop declined the sale because the customer raised suspicions by requesting a high grade of body armor typically used by law enforcement.

Abell says the young man left empty-handed and that the shop alerted the FBI, but since no sale was made, the shop did not check the man’s ID and had no name to give authorities.

Abell says store staff realized the customer was nightclub shooter Omar Mateen only after seeing reports about the carnage in Orlando.

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4:50 p.m.

The flag flew at half-staff at a cemetery outside Orlando for one of the first burials of one of the 49 victims of the shooting rampage at the city’s Pulse nightclub.

A line of a couple dozen mourners surrounded a black hearse as the body of Kimberly “KJ” Morris was loaded in and taken for burial at Osceola Memory Gardens Cemetery in Kissimmee, Florida.

The 37-year-old Morris moved to Orlando months ago and worked at the club as a bouncer.

Jessica Frazier was an acquaintance of KJ and knew her from Pulse. Frazer says she was always very positive, no matter what was going on.

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4:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama says it’s going to take more than the military to prevent terrorist attacks like the ones that have occurred most recently in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando.

Obama is speaking after meeting with families of those shot and killed early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Obama says the attacks were not conducted by sophisticated cells, but by deranged individuals. And while the motivation may have been different than what led to attacks in communities like Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, the instruments of death were similar.

He says those killed and injured were gunned down by a single individual with a powerful assault weapon. Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Eric Schultz reiterated the administration’s support for legislation that would ban assault weapons.

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4 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the families of the 49 people who were killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting “could be our families” and “are part of the American family.”

Obama adds that his visit Thursday to the grieving Florida city reminds everyone of “what is good.”

Obama spoke after meeting privately with loved ones of those who were killed Sunday, including many young people in their 20s and 30s.

He says the families’ grief is “beyond description.”

Obama was joined by Vice President Joe Biden.

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3:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama has concluded his meeting with survivors and the families of victims killed in Sunday’s nightclub shooting in Orlando.

The president is visiting Orlando to express solidarity with the grief-stricken community.

The White House says that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also met with the owners and staff of the Pulse nightclub who were working when the attack occurred. Two employees were killed in the attack.

The president and vice president have also had the chance to meet with local law enforcement officials to thank them for their work in responding to the attack, which killed 49 and injured more than 50.

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A JetBlue crew member says on a Facebook post that people on a plane to Orlando wrote notes and hugged a woman who is said to be the grandmother of one of the victims in the shooting at a gay nightclub.

The airline would not name the woman but confirmed that Facebook post was made by a crew member.

In the Facebook post, Kelly Davis Karas said the grandmother was “distraught, but met us with kindness and gentleness.”

The crew member passed around a paper so people could write notes and says they had page after page of long messages offering condolences, peace, love and support.

The crew member identified the flier as the grandmother of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, one of the 49 people killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He was 20 years old.

As people left the plane they offered their condolences.

The crew member wrote: People are kind and people do care.”

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3:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have laid wreaths at a makeshift memorial to nightclub shooting victims in downtown Orlando.

Under rainy skies, the two walked slowly up to a sea of flowers, signs and American flags and kneeled low to place the white wreaths.

Obama and Biden are in Orlando on Thursday to meet with survivors and the families of victims slain the massacre at the Pulse nightclub.

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The medical examiner in Orlando says he doesn’t believe the 49 people who died in the Pulse nightclub shooting suffered because they didn’t move after being felled.

Dr. Joshua Stephany said Thursday that medical examiners determine suffering by how much a victim moves after being shot.

He says didn’t see evidence that the victims had moved.

He says it looked like time had stopped in the club following the massacre.

Drinks looked like they had just been poured, checks looked like they were about to be paid, TVs were on in the background, food was half-eaten and fans were swirling.

He described it as surreal.

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3:30 p.m.

Republican Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama is “directly responsible” for the mass shooting in Orlando because Obama has allowed the growth of the Islamic State group on his watch.

McCain — who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election — made the comment to reporters Thursday while Obama was in Orlando visiting with the families of those killed in Sunday’s attack and some of the survivors.

In the aftermath of the shooting, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has accused Obama of putting U.S. enemies ahead of American’s own people. Trump also has suggested that Obama himself might sympathize with radical elements.

Democrats criticized Trump and some Republicans tried to distance themselves.

McCain is seeking a sixth term in the Senate from Arizona.

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Ohio State University has changed its mind about having its mascot march in an upcoming Ohio parade celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

The university spirit team coaches had earlier cited safety concerns after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida that left 49 dead as the reason for pulling Brutus Buckeye from this weekend’s Pride festival in Columbus. But in a statement Thursday afternoon, OSU said that after “additional consultation and reviews,” Brutus would indeed participate in the parade, along with President Michael Drake and other university officials.

The statement didn’t say why school officials changed their mind about Brutus’ participation, and spokesmen Ben Johnson declined to comment further.

Columbus police have said security will be increased for this weekend’s events.

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3 p.m.

The medical examiner in Orlando says he was able to identify the last of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting only after finding the victim’s wallet at the club.

Dr. Joshua Stephany said Thursday that there was no identification with 25-year-old Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez when he was brought to the medical examiner’s facilities.

The medical examiner’s office doctors were able to identify many of the other victims through photo IDs or family descriptions of tattoos or jewelry.

Stephany said when he went out to the club he noticed a loose wallet.

A police officer procured the wallet for him and it turned out it belong to Ortiz-Jimenez.

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2:15 p.m.

Hundreds of people are gathering outside the Amway Center in downtown Orlando as President Barack Obama meets with survivors and family members of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Brittany Woodrough was waiting in the 95 degree heat, hoping to see the president. She called 19-year-old Jason Benjamin Josaphat, one of the victims, a close friend.

She says she prays for his family and can’t believe that she lost a good friend. She says Obama’s visit makes it real.

Forty-nine people died when the gunman attacked the Pulse nightclub early Sunday and 53 were wounded.

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2:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama is meeting with survivors of the Orlando nightclub shooting and the families of the victims in downtown Orlando.

Obama arrived in the afternoon at the Amway Center, where the NBA’s Orlando Magic play. He’s expected to spend several hours meeting in private to offer condolences.

Vice President Joe Biden is joining Obama for the meetings.

Before sitting down with families and survivors, Obama and Biden met with law enforcement officials. The White House says they thanked the officials for their response to the attack Sunday at a gay nightclub.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Florida Rep. Corrine Brown joined Obama on Air Force One for the flight to Orlando, but are not participating in his meetings with those affected by the shooting.

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The owner of the nightclub a gunman attacked is starting a fundraising drive for her employees.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma said Thursday that several fundraising efforts are underway to help the survivors and victims’ families from the massacre, but none are affiliated with the club.

She says many people have called asking how they can help Pulse employees.

Poma says money raised by the Pulse Employee Recovery Fund will go directly to the nightclub’s workers.

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1:15 p.m.

The medical examiner who oversaw the 49 autopsies of the victims of the Pulse shooting says he kept their bodies separated from the gunman’s body.

Dr. Joshua Stephany said in a statement Thursday that the body of gunman Omar Mateen was being held in a building separate from the victims.

He also says the gunman’s autopsy was conducted in a separate building from the victims.

Stephany says he decided to do that not because of any requirement but because he thought it’s the right thing to do.

The medical examiner says his staffers were able to conduct autopsies on the all victims, as well as identify their bodies, within 72 hours after Sunday morning’s shooting.

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12:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived in Orlando to console those mourning the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Air Force One landed at Orlando International Airport at midday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer were meeting him on the tarmac.

The White House released few details about how Obama is spending the afternoon in Orlando. But he was expected to meet in private with families of the victims and survivors of the attack. Obama also planned to thank first responders and to speak about the need to stand with Orlando’s gay and lesbian community.

Twenty-nine-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire inside a gay nightclub early Sunday, leaving 49 people dead.

Vice President Joe Biden is also traveling to Florida on Thursday to spend time with victims’ families.

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12 p.m.

Comcast NBCUniversal is donating $1 million to a fund helping nightclub victims’ families and survivors.

The company lost four employees and had two others injured in the shooting.

Company officials said Thursday they were making the donation to the OneOrlando fund in the wake of the Pulse massacre that left 49 people dead. Among the dead were two employees who worked at the Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks and two employees who worked at the Telemundo station in Orlando.

Another two victims used to work at the Universal theme parks, and two other Universal employees were hospitalized with injuries.

Since it was started on Tuesday, the OneOrlando fund has raised at least $4.6 million and is growing.

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Messages of hope have been extended to the Orlando police officers who responded to this week’s gay nightclub shooting by Colorado colleagues who know the horrors they faced.

Aurora Police Lt. Stephen Redfearn was among the first on the scene after a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in his Denver suburb in 2012. Redfearn came up with the idea for a video in which he and other members of his department say they stand with Orlando.

Redfearn says messages he received in 2012 from other officers helped, and he wanted to show Orlando the same support.

Orlando police tweeted a link to Redfearn’s video and expressed thanks.

Twelve people died in Aurora in 2012. In Orlando, 49 people died before the gunman was killed.

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10:35 a.m.

Six people wounded in the attack on a gay nightclub are still in critical condition at a hospital.

Orlando Regional Medical Center said Thursday that three people are in guarded condition. That’s an improvement from a couple of days ago when five people were in that condition.

Twenty-three people in all are still at Orlando Regional.

Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 wounded when Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub early Sunday.

The motive for his attack is still unclear. He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call, his ex-wife said he was mentally ill and his father has suggested he was angry with gays.

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10:20 a.m.

CIA Director John Brennan says the agency has found no connection between the Orlando gunman and any foreign terrorist organization.

Testifying before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, Brennan said the Islamic State will continue to try to inspire lone wolf attacks.

Brennan says he has seen in Orlando, San Bernardino and elsewhere that the group is attempting to inspire attacks by sympathizers who have no direct links to them.

He said, however, that while the CIA is sharing intelligence with the FBI to help identify potential lone-wolf attackers, the agency’s responsibility is to gather information about operations overseas.

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9 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is concerned about hatred against gays and lesbians.

Referring to the nightclub shooting in Orlando, the chancellor told reporters on Thursday that while not all details of the attack had been fully investigated, “we know one thing: the attacker was fully aware that he would meet lesbian and gay people in the nightclub — and the massacre was exactly targeted at these people.”

Merkel also expressed concern about increasing homophobic sentiments in Germany. She said that life in open and free societies “must be shaped by respect for the other — no matter what he believes, no matter what he looks like and no matter whom he loves.”

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8:30 a.m.

A visitation has been held for one of the victims of the massacre at a gay Orlando nightclub, beginning the long procession of rainbow-hued sendoffs.

On Wednesday night, the casket for Javier Jorge-Reyes was taken inside the funeral home. Outside, a crowd of drag queens, motorcyclists and others came to pay their respects.

Ezekiel Davis — or, as he’s known to some, Sister Anesthesia Beaverhausen — was dressed in a nun’s habit. He said: “We’re just here to spread love and joy and try to put an end to all the hate.”

Cora Bath said she was there to support the grieving family in her city. She added: “We’re going to stand united.”

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7:40 a.m.

President Barack Obama wants to offer solace and healing to a distraught community during a visit to Orlando, even as the political world turns the shooting into a fresh excuse to fight about terrorism and gun control.

Obama faces a tragedy whose causes are still murky. Even as the families of 49 victims prepare to bury their dead, it’s unclear exactly what led a 29-year-old Muslim born in New York to open fire in a gay nightclub where some have said he might have been a regular patron.

In Orlando, Obama plans to meet with families of the victims, as well as with the doctors, paramedics and other first responders who came to their aid. He is also expected to speak publicly during his visit.

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7:30 a.m.

Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left at least 49 people dead had Oprah Winfrey asking questions instead of answering them Wednesday night.

Tapping the chest of an Associated Press reporter to emphasize her point, Winfrey inquired: “What will be the number? What number is high enough to get our attention, so that we will say, ‘Enough’?”

Winfrey was on the arrivals line Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the premiere of “Greenleaf.” She produces and acts in the TV drama. It will be broadcast on her OWN network.

She seemed eager to speak about the Orlando massacre.

She says: “One side says ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’ … But are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody? Are assault weapons necessary? I just say, ‘Enough.’

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7:30 a.m.

The coordinator for Chicago’s upcoming gay pride parade says organizers will hire dozens more off-duty police officers than they did last year after city officials asked them to beef up security in the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida.

Richard Pfeiffer says 160 off-duty officers and other security professionals will work the parade. Last year there were 70.

Security has been increased in gay communities in Chicago and around the country since a gunman killed 49 people at an Orlando club. Chicago police say they’ll provide additional parade security. Police say there’s been no threat made against the city’s gay community.

FBI spokesman Garrett Croon says in a statement Wednesday that the agency is working with Chicago police in establishing security measures for the pride parade.

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7:30 a.m.

New York City’s police commissioner says there have been a number of threats made against gay bars and nightclubs in the city, but none appear to be credible.

Commissioner William Bratton says Wednesday that the threats were made by “cowards” who came out of the woodwork after Sunday’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida that killed 49 people.

Bratton says there are no known, credible threats against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in New York.

He says police will thoroughly investigate each of the threats and police treat all of them seriously.

Bratton says there will also be an increased police presence at the city’s gay pride parade on June 26. He predicts this year’s parade will be the largest in the city’s history.

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3 a.m.  June 16, 2016

In the final hours of his life, Orlando gunman Omar Mateen apparently made a series of Facebook posts in which he raged against the “filthy ways of the west.”

That’s according to a Senate committee.

As the grief-stricken city of Orlando prepares to bury the first of the 49 who perished at the Pulse dance club, a Senate Committee has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg for help uncovering the trail of hate Mateen left behind in cyberspace.

The call comes as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Orlando on Thursday. On Wednesday, drag queens and motorcyclists paid their respects at a visitation for Javier Jorge-Reyes, beginning the long procession of rainbow-hued sendoffs for Mateen’s victims.

8 p.m.

A new Senate letter says Orlando gunman Omar Mateen made a series of Facebook posts before and during the attack, including blasting the “filthy ways of the West” and blaming the United States for the deaths of “innocent women and children.”

A letter sent Wednesday evening to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg lays out a series of Facebook posts that Senate staffers say were made the morning of the attack.

The letter, from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says Mateen in one post pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State. Another said “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic State.”

According to the letter, he also searched that morning for “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting.”

An FBI spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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6:50 p.m.

A Florida lawmaker says members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community in Orlando were turned away from donating blood after the massacre of 49 people at Pulse nightclub.

Florida Rep. Mike Miller said Wednesday in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that hundreds of individuals from the LGBT community were turned away because of FDA guidelines restricting blood donations from individuals who have had same-sex relations in the past 12 months.

Miller asked FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to lift the restriction if it’s not based on strong scientific fact.

The state lawmaker says the Orlando area still has a blood shortage despite the outpouring of donors in the days since the shootings.

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6:30 p.m.

A Senate committee is asking the FBI to turn over its files on Orlando gunman Omar Mateen.

In a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs asked the FBI to provide records related to two previously closed investigations concerning Mateen.

The committee also requested details of the placement and removal of Mateen from a terrorist watch list, any prior visits to the Pulse nightclub or Walt Disney World before the attack and his travel to Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the committee said it wanted information about Mateen’s use of social media before and during the attack, and the FBI’s communication with state and local law enforcement about Mateen’s comments about terrorism prior to the attack.

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6:10 p.m.

A U.S. official says the FBI has determined that nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was in the area of Disney World at some point before the attack unfolded, though it’s unclear for what purpose.

The official briefed on the investigation who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Mateen drove around the Orlando area Saturday evening, going from one place to another, before he opened fire at the gay nightspot about 2 a.m. Sunday. Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 injured.

—Eric Tucker, Washington

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5:55 p.m.

Ricky Martin is calling for unity, love and tougher gun laws.

In a lengthy statement released Wednesday, the singer is urging his fans to call their elected representatives “10 times each day until they act.” Martin says to “set a timer if it helps, but make the calls.”

He released the statement, titled “I Will Never Cease to Fight for Love,” in English and Spanish.

Martin called the Orlando shooting an act of hate that has profoundly affected him as a human being and a gay person. He said the United States has an “undeniable problem with gun violence.”

He said that even more important than contacting elected officials is to love wholeheartedly.

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5:30 p.m.

Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge responded to the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub by doing one thing she felt she could do, which was write a song.

Etheridge told the Rolling Stone that she titled the song “Pulse” after the club where 49 people were killed and dozens more wounded in Orlando on Sunday. The song was written almost immediately after she heard the news and recorded on Monday with producer Jerry Wonda.

The song features a thumping, heartbeat-like rhythm and lyrics about how love will always win, but also seems to directly address the gunman when she sings, “Who you gonna gun down? If you can’t kill the truth.”

Etheridge said the song will be available for purchase soon and proceeds will go to a LGBT charity.

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A Missouri sheriff says he’s waiving fees for the rest of June for residents seeking concealed carry permits after last weekend’s nightclub massacre in Florida.

Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson announced the move Monday on the department’s official Facebook page.

The county has charged residents $100 for their first five-year permit and $50 to renew one. The department also will hold a free concealed carry class for new applicants July 9.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday. The attack left 49 people dead and 53 wounded.

Anderson says in the Facebook posting that while he continues praying for peace in the U.S. and worldwide, he “will not put blinders on and act like this cannot happen here to people we know and love.”

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2 p.m.

The Homeland Security is set to issue a new terror alert system bulletin that will highlight the threat environment facing the United States.

The bulletin will be effective Thursday, the same day a bulletin issued in December expires.

DHS Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson announced in December the addition of bulletins to the National Terrorism Advisory System. At the time, he said the bulletin was being issued to keep the public informed in a “new phase off the global threat environment.”

That global threat environment, he says today, hasn’t changed and U.S. authorities remain worried about homegrown violent extremists “who could strike with little or no notice.”

A gunman attacked a nightclub early Sunday, leaving 49 people dead and wounding 53 others.

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1:50 p.m.

A federal prosecutor says he won’t speculate on whether any charges may be brought in the investigation into the nightclub shooting in Orlando.

U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said during a news conference Wednesday that it would be premature to speculate about any charges. He also asked people to not make threats against members of the Muslim community, saying in most cases that the threats are illegal. He did not talk about any specific threats.

The FBI urged people who have had any contact or know anything about shooter Omar Mateen to please contact them. FBI agent Ron Hopper said no piece of information is too small.

An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe that 30-year-old U.S.-born Noor Salman knew ahead of time about Sunday’s attack, but they are reluctant to charge her on that basis alone.

— Associated Press writer Mike Schneider

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1:45 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama’s visit to Orlando on Thursday is about offering comfort and support to a community that’s grieving.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says many details about the president’s trip are still being worked out, but Obama will meet with and offer condolences to the families of those who were killed and will seek to comfort those who survived.

Earnest tells reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing that the president will also meet with first responders, doctors and nurses who acted heroically to try and save innocent lives. He says their efforts were successful in saving dozens of people, and the president wants to thank them personally.

Earnest says the trip will be an emotional one for Obama and that he will speak publicly about the experience.

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12:30 p.m.

A newly unearthed documentary clip shows Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen talking cynically about people who make money off disasters.

The clip from 2012’s “The Big Fix” shows Mateen chatting with an undercover film crew while working as a security guard at a BP oil spill cleanup site on the Florida panhandle.

Mateen tells a woman who pulls up to his guard booth that everyone is “hoping for more oil to come out and more people to complain so they’ll have the jobs.”

Security firm G4S confirmed Wednesday that the guard in the clip is Mateen.

G4S spokeswoman Sarah Booth says Mateen was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, for several months in 2010 to assist with the oil spill cleanup.

“The Big Fix” chronicles the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill that sent more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

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11:55 a.m.

Democratic state lawmakers want to pass emergency legislation requiring a ban on gun purchases by people on watch lists.

The Florida lawmakers called on Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday to hold a special session on the legislation in the wake of the massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in what is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The proposal would require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an extensive background check on individuals who have been on watch lists before they can legally purchase or own firearms.

Gunman Omar Mateen was questioned three times in 2013 and 2014 by the FBI but the cases never went anywhere.

A special session could only be held if either the Republican governor wants one or Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli agree to hold one.

Neither is likely to happen since Scott has said the shooting in Orlando isn’t about gun rights, and the speaker and president, both Republicans, said Tuesday they have no plans to call a special session to address gun laws.

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11:50 a.m.

An Orlando hospital says six people wounded in the nightclub shooting are still in critical condition.

The Orlando Regional Medical Center said Wednesday that four people are in guarded condition, an improvement from a day early when five people were in that condition.

The hospital says they are still treating 25 people there. Doctors have warned that the death toll from the shooting could rise.

Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 people wounded when a gunman opened fire on the Pulse nightclub early Sunday.

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11:45 a.m.

Senate Democrats are proposing a funding boost for the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts and local active shooter training in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando.

The proposed amendment to a Justice Department spending bill would increase the number of special agents related to counterterrorism and boost surveillance.

Democrats are also expected to introduce an amendment to allow the government to deny firearms and explosives to people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered the amendment in December, a day after an extremist couple killed 14 people in her state. It was rejected on a near party-line vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has focused on the need to beef up defense, intelligence and law enforcement efforts against extremist groups.

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11:30 a.m.

Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen passed a psychological evaluation in 2007 as part of his application to be a private security guard.

Florida records show Mateen was determined to be mentally and emotionally stable in September 2007 so he could work for The Wackenhut Corp., later renamed G4S Secure Solutions. The records state he took a written psychological test or had an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Mateen also stated in his 2007 firearm application that he neither had been diagnosed with a mental illness nor had a history of alcohol or substance abuse.

The documents were obtained by The Associated Press under open records laws. They are part of paperwork he filed to the state agency that issues firearms and security officer licenses.

Records show Mateen also scored well on his firearms tests.

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The families of the 49 victims who died and survivors of the nightclub shooting can now turn to a victims’ assistance center to get death certificates and retrieve cars they have been unable to get to because the area is a crime scene.

The assistance center opened Wednesday at the Camping World Stadium, previously known as the Citrus Bowl.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs say the center will provide grief counseling, legal information, funeral-arrangement assistance, translators and help with the transportation needs of the survivors and their families.

Dyer says they have use of the entire stadium and can accommodate as many people as needed.

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11:15 a.m.

Orlando police and the FBI have scheduled a news conference to update the media on the investigation into nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

Investigators are looking into the motives of Mateen, who attacked the Pulse dance club early Sunday, leaving 49 people dead. Mateen died in a gun battle with police.

Mateen called 911 and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack.

The news conference is set for 1:30 p.m.

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An Orlando television station says nightclub shooter Omar Mateen called during his standoff with police and declared his support for the Islamic State.

Matt Gentili, a producer at CFN 13 in Orlando, says a man called him and said “I’m the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter.”

Gentili says the man started to say he did it for the Islamic State and started speaking in Arabic.

The call came in about 2:45 a.m., roughly 45 minutes into the massacre, according to NY 1 News, the station’s sister operation in New York.

Gentili was interviewed by FBI agents and NY 1 says the Orlando station’s managing editor traced the call back to a number associated with Mateen.

The Orlando Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials have previously said Mateen called 911 twice during the shooting.

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10:55 a.m.

Orlando officials are giving the families of the 49 victims from the Pulse nightclub massacre the option of being buried together in a city-run cemetery.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Wednesday that there is enough space at the city’s Greenwood Cemetery to accommodate 49 plots together if their families desire.

Dyer says the spot in the 82-acre cemetery is near a road which would make it a good spot for some kind of memorial for the victims of the Pulse nightclub since people could leave flowers and cards.

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10 a.m.

An official says the Orlando shooter’s threats that he had strapped explosives onto hostages and clubgoers’ belief that he had explosive vests caused a delay of “significant time” in sending paramedics into the nightclub.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Wednesday that shooter Omar Mateen falsely told negotiators that he was strapping explosive onto four hostages, and club-goers trapped inside thought he had explosive vests, based on texts they sent and remarks to 911 dispatchers.

No explosives were found in the club. A battery pack that SWAT members initially thought could be an explosive ended up being a fire alarm or piece of an exit sign.

Dyer said he didn’t know exactly how long a delay that caused.

Officials have said 11 victims either died at hospitals or on their way to hospitals.

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9:20 a.m.

An official says the gunman in the massacre at a gay nightclub was driving around the Orlando area the night before the mass shooting.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Wednesday that Omar Mateen drove around on Saturday night before he opened fire at the Pulse club about 2 a.m. Sunday.

Dyer says, “What I know concretely is that he was driving around that evening and visited several locations.”

When asked exactly where Mateen visited, and whether the locations included theme parks as reported in some media stories, Dyer said, “I think it’s been pretty accurately depicted on the news.” He did not give further details.

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7 a.m.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has issued a statement about the death of a U.S. Army Reserve soldier in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub, and says officials there support the people of Orlando and the LGBT community.

Ash says Capt. Antonio Davon Brown served for nearly a decade to protect others — “the noblest thing a young person can do.”

The statement says the Defense Department grieves with Brown’s families and all the loved ones affected by the shooting. It also says: “We stand with the people of Orlando and the nation’s LGBT community during this difficult time.”

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6:50 a.m.

German federal investigators say they’re looking into a Duesseldorf bank account held by the father of the gunman who attacked an Orlando nightclub, and are in contact with their American counterparts.

Germany’s Rheinischen Post reports Seddique Mateen posted the bank information in a 2013 video soliciting donations. The newspaper says the account is now closed and only received two payments, of 100 euros ($112) and 70 euros.

Mateen, the father of Omar Mateen, has multiple videos online in which he chats about Afghan political issues in Farsi. He calls himself the “Afghan revolutionary president” but isn’t a known name in Afghanistan.

Federal Criminal Police Office spokeswoman Barbara Huebner said Wednesday that her office was investigating to see whether there was any relevance to the Orlando case, but refused to give further details.

___

6:45 a.m.

The London-based security company that employed the Florida nightclub shooter says it received one complaint about him during his nine years of employment.

The 2013 complaint prompted G4S to transfer Omar Mateen. It came from St. Lucie County Courthouse, where he was a security guard. The FBI then investigated Mateen.

G4S spokesman Nigel Fairbrass said Wednesday that it was the only complaint about Mateen since he was hired in 2007. GS4 wouldn’t give details on the complaint.

Former G4S employee Daniel Gilroy has told the New York Times and other news outlets that he had alerted G4S about Mateen’s behavior. G4S says it has no records of any complaints by Gilroy. Gilroy has called Mateen loud and profane and accused him of threatening violence.

Fairbrass says of Gilrory: “We reached out to him and have since confirmed that he did, in fact, not file any formal complaint.”

___

3 a.m.   June 14, 2016

Investigators trying to find out what motivated nightclub killer Omar Mateen are casting a wide net.

The FBI is checking reports that Mateen frequented a gay dance club in Orlando before going on a murderous rampage there. Investigators also are looking at whether his wife knew anything beforehand about the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. The attack left Mateen and 49 victims dead.

On Tuesday, a U.S. official said the FBI was looking into news reports quoting patrons of Pulse as saying Mateen frequented the nightspot and reached out to men on gay dating apps. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama said investigators had no information to suggest a foreign terrorist group directed the attack.

 

9:00 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Orlando on Thursday to pay respects to the victims of Sunday’s nightclub shooting and to stand in solidarity with the community.

The White House did not provide more details about the trip. Obama had canceled what was to be his first campaign event with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the wake of the shooting at a gay nightclub that killed 49 and wounded dozens more. That event was scheduled for Wednesday.

Obama has called the shooting an act of terrorism and an act of hate. He notes that the site of the shooting was more than a nightclub. He says it’s a place where people came to raise awareness, speak their minds and advocate for their civil rights.

___

8:50 p.m.

The security company that employed the Orlando nightclub gunman says it has no record of a co-worker’s complaints that the shooter was angry, profane and threatened violence.

The company, G4S, says in a statement Monday that it has no record of any complaint by Daniel Gilroy against Omar Mateen. Mateen died in a gun battle with police after a mass shooting that left 49 people.

Gilroy told The New York Times that Mateen started badgering him and sending dozens of text messages to him daily, and that he reported Mateen’s behavior to his bosses.

However, G4S says Gilroy told company officials in June 2015, shortly after he left the firm, that his co-workers were “good men and women that put in an honest day’s work and genuinely like to work as a team and contribute.”

___

8:30 p.m.

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Orlando Monday evening for a vigil to support the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Many in the crowd said they were inspired to attend because Pulse played a huge role in their lives as gays and lesbians.

“It was a place that a young 20-year-old who wasn’t openly gay felt safe for the first time,” said Cathleen Daus, now 36. She worked at Pulse in her twenties. “Pulse gave me confidence, made me realize I was normal and so much like everyone else.”

The vigil was held on the lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center, the area’s main performing arts venue. It’s also the location of a makeshift memorial, where folks have been leaving flowers, candles and notes for the victims.

___

7 p.m.

Target stores across the U.S. are going silent Tuesday to honor two employees, one who worked at the retailer and another who worked at a Starbucks inside the store.

A third Target employee who works at an in-store coffee shop remains in critical condition as a result of the nightclub shooting early Sunday.

The employees slain in the attack were Mercedez Marisol Flores and Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo.

Family and friends say the 26-year-old Flores worked at an Orlando-area Target while attending community college in hopes of becoming a party planner.

The 20-year-old Ocasio-Capo worked at a Starbucks shop inside a Kissimmee Target store while studying theater. His sister says he would’ve been auditioning for a play Tuesday.

The name of the worker in critical condition wasn’t released.

___
5 p.m.

The U.S. is calling on all 193 members of the United Nations to not only condemn the terrorism that resulted in the mass killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida over the weekend, but also to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from such attacks.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. David Pressman, speaking at the election of Fiji Ambassador Peter Thomson to the post of 71st General Assembly president, said protecting the dignity of all human beings should be at the heart of the General Assembly’s work going forward.

He said outrage at the killing should be directed at protecting members of the LGBT community “not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them.”

___

3:25 p.m.

Mexico’s president says three people killed in the Orlando nightclub attack were citizens of his country, and a fourth was wounded but is in stable condition.

President Enrique Pena Nieto also says his government is assisting families of the victims of what is the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Christina Hernandez, a Hispanic activist who spoke Monday during a gathering at Hispanic Federation office, noted that the victims’ names are overwhelmingly Latino and Hispanic.

She says the victims were part of the LBGT community and the Hispanic community.

___

2:40 p.m.

The FBI’s director said the agency is trying to determine whether the Orlando nightclub shooter had recently scouted Walt Disney World and other locations as potential targets.

Director James Comey made the comments at a Monday news conference about the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. When asked whether Disney and other locations had been scouted, Comey said, “We’re still working through that.”

He also said he wasn’t in a position to comment further.

People.com, citing an unnamed federal law enforcement source, reported that Omar Mateen had recently scouted the theme park. The report says he visited with his wife.

People.com said representatives for Walt Disney World didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
___

2 p.m.

OneBlood officials continue to urge people to donate blood in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre.

Potential donors are asked to make appointments at their local blood banks.

OneBlood officials posted videos on Facebook showing snacks and beverages donated for people waiting in long lines to give blood. Spokeswoman Stephanie Zaurin says donors are coming “in record numbers.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Tara Goodin said in an email to The Associated Press that the Interorganizational Disaster Task Force met Sunday and ensured that all immediate needs for blood were met.

Goodwin said the agency appreciated the widespread desire to donate blood after the shooting. She said scheduling appointments to donate blood “will help replenish the blood supply in an organized manner, without overwhelming the system.”

___

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is writing to the governor of Florida and the mayor of Orlando to convey his condolences at “the horrific and hateful act of terror” that targeted the LGBT community.

Ban, a strong supporter of LGBT rights, said “such violence is despicable, and contrary to the values of equality, peace and mutual respect that underpin the United Nations,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday.

In the letters to Gov. Rick Scott and Mayor Buddy Dyer, the U.N. chief said “at this time of shock and sorrow, the United Nations stands in solidarity with the families of the victims and with the people of the United States,” according to Dujarric.

Ban condemned the attack in a statement on Sunday.

___

1:30 p.m.

FBI Director James Comey says the Orlando nightclub shooter espoused support for a jumble of often-conflicting Islamic organizations.

He said that shooter called 911 during the attack and not only pledged loyalty to the Islamic State but also expressed solidarity with the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing and a suicide bomber who died on behalf of the al-Nusra front, a group at odds with the Islamic State.

Comey says in the past few years, the gunman also expressed support for both al-Qaida and its enemy Hezbollah.

The FBI investigated Omar Mateen for 10 months beginning in May 2013 after he was said to have inflammatory remarks in support of terrorists.

Comey said investigators introduced him to confidential sources, followed him and reviewed some of his communications, but Mateen claimed he made the remarks in anger because co-workers were teasing and discriminating against him because he was Muslim.

As for whether the FBI should have done anything differently, Comey says so far he doesn’t think so.

___

1:10 p.m.

Hospital officials say they are “very optimistic” that the nightclub shooting victims being treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center will recover.

Orlando Health officials tweeted Monday that they no longer need to give “major amounts of blood” to shooting victims.

The hospital says many survivors had “multiple high-velocity” gunshot wounds and many in the intensive care unit no longer need ventilators to breathe.

The hospital holds weekly trauma simulations, along with periodic large-scale, city-wide simulations. Officials say the training left the hospital well-stocked for mass casualties.

The trauma medical director, Dr. Joseph Ibrahim, says the only thing he would change is that more victims could have gotten to the hospital sooner so that that they could have saved more people.

___

The world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations has condemned the mass shooting in Orlando but also warned against “political campaigning and self-serving agendas” in the wake of the tragedy.

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said in a statement Monday that “the massacre, as terrible as it is, must not be taken out of its context as a domestic American case.”

The organization says it is concerned that “hasty judgment” and “Islamophobic discourse” have emerged before a full investigation into the motivations and causes of the attack that killed 49 people.

The organization also conveyed its condolences to the families of the victims of “this horrible act.”

It says the teachings of Islam are based on peace and tolerance, and that terrorism is a crime against humanity.

___

Two men have been detained outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during a vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

People have been bringing flowers and rainbow flags to the embassy in central Moscow to show their solidarity with the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history since early morning.

An Associated Press reporter on Monday saw two young men take out a placard saying “Love wins” before police officers came up to them and took them away.

Russia passed a controversial law in 2013, banning the so-called propaganda of gay relationships among minors, which authorities have used to ban any public displays of support for the gay community.

___

12:55 p.m.

FBI Director James Comey says the gunman in the Orlando nightclub attack that killed 49 people had “strong indications of radicalization” and was likely inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.

Comey told reporters Monday that Omar Mateen spoke with a 911 operator three times early Sunday morning. Mateen pledged loyalty to the head of the Islamic State group on his last call.

The FBI investigated Mateen for 10 months beginning in May 2013. Comey said investigators introduced him to confidential sources, followed him and reviewed details of some of his communications.

The early Sunday attack marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen died in a gun battle with police.

___

A vigil will be held Monday night in Orlando for the 49 victims of a gay nightclub massacre.

The group Equality Florida says it has been working with the city to make sure the event at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, just about a mile from the Pulse nightclub, will be safe.

Mayor Buddy Dyer will speak at the vigil.

___

A Democratic congressman says he’s done with the moments of silence typically held on the House floor after mass shootings.

Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes says he will leave the House floor during the traditional moment if Republican leaders schedule one to honor 49 people who died in an attack at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning.

In a series of tweets Sunday, Himes says the silence doesn’t honor victims, but mocks them. He calls the observances an “abomination” and says he will not be silent. He and other Democrats have complained about the moments of silence as Republicans and some Democrats have remained opposed to additional gun controls.

Himes says in an interview Monday that he plans to talk to Democratic colleagues about leaving the floor and honoring the victims in another way.

___

12:45 p.m.

A steady stream of people is filing through a makeshift memorial about a mile from the gay Orlando nightclub where 49 victims were killed in the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

The makeshift memorial had about 25 bouquets of flowers and a growing collection of candles by Monday morning.

One married couple, Josh and James Mercer, left a poster with the hashtags “#onelove, #oneheart, #onepulse” and the illustration of a medical pulse.

Josh Mercer says two of their friends died in the shooting.

Others who approached the memorial were emotional, breaking down in tears or holding their hands to their faces in prayer.

___

12:20 p.m.

Court documents reveal new details about the life of the Orlando nightclub shooter.

The documents are in relation to Omar Mateen’s petition to legally change his name in 2006, the same year he graduated from Indian River Community College.

The documents released Monday detail Mateen’s various jobs and say he was born in Queens, New York, and moved to Port Saint Lucie in 1991. Between 2001 and 2006, he worked at eight jobs, including a Publix grocery store, Circuit City, Chick-Fil-A and a Walgreens drug store.

Then his jobs begin focusing more on vitamins and health. He worked at Nutrition World in Fort Pierce, Gold’s Gym and a GNC store in a mall.

The records show that he changed his name from Omar Mir Seddique to Omar Mir Seddique Mateen. The documents don’t say why he changed his name.

The 29-year-old Mateen was killed after he attacked a gay nightclub early Sunday. Forty-nine other people died in the attack.

___

12 p.m.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says Orlando shooter Omar Mateen visited the kingdom twice to perform an Islamic pilgrimage.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told The Associated Press in a text message Monday that Mateen first visited Saudi Arabia for 10 days in March 2011 and again a year later in March 2012 for eight days.

Mateen had performed what is known as the umrah pilgrimage, a series of religious rites carried out in Mecca by millions of Muslims from around the world each year. This pilgrimage is shorter than the annual hajj.

Most pilgrims will also travel to the nearby city of Medina, where the Prophet Muhammad is buried and where he built the first mosque.

___

11:45 a.m.

Hospital officials say five people are still in “grave condition” after they were wounded in the attack at an Orlando nightclub.

Orlando Regional Medical Center says 29 people are still at the hospital and a number of patients remain critically ill and in shock.

Six more surgeries on the victims are scheduled for Monday, a day after a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub. The attack left 50 people dead, including the shooter.

___

11:30 a.m.

President Barack Obama says there’s no clear evidence that the shooter at an Orlando nightclub was directed to conduct his attack or part of a larger plot.

He says it appears the shooter was inspired by extremist information disseminated over the internet.

Obama says the investigation is at the preliminary stages and is being treated as a terrorism investigation. He says the attack appears to be similar to last year’s shooting spree in San Bernardino, California.

The president says investigators are still looking into the motivations of the shooter, including the fact that the shooting took place at a gay venue.

Obama spoke in the Oval Office after getting briefed on the investigation by FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other officials.

___

11:15 a.m.

The father of the Orlando nightclub shooter is calling his son’s massacre “the act of a terrorist.”

Seddique Mir Mateen gave a statement to reporters and answered a few questions Monday at his home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. On Sunday, the father suggested that his son’s anti-gay hatred may have led to the rampage, saying his son got angry a few months ago when he saw two men kissing in Miami.

Mateen apologized for what his son did and said “I am as sad and mad as you guys are.”

He wouldn’t go into details about any religious or political views his son held, saying he didn’t know.

___

10 a.m.

The father of the man authorities say opened fire at a gay Florida nightclub in a massacre that left 49 victims dead says the attack goes against everything he taught his son.

Speaking to reporters Monday morning, Seddique Mir Mateen — the father of gunman Omar Mateen — said the attack was against his principles and against what he taught his son.

Seddique Mir Mateen said the family is shocked by what happened and that if he’d known what his son was planning, he would have arrested him himself.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at a gay nightclub early Sunday before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded in the shooting.

___

7:45 a.m.

Officials say they don’t yet know if anyone will be charged in the massacre that left 50 dead at a gay Florida club.

U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said at a Monday morning news conference that officials have been collecting electronic and physical evidence as part of the ongoing investigation.

He says, “We don’t know if anyone else will be charged.” He adds that officials don’t believe there is a threat of imminent danger to the public.

Shooter Omar Mateen was killed in the early Sunday incident. Officials say 49 victims were killed in the incident.

The FBI says a total of 50 people were left dead, including Mateen.

___

7:40 a.m.

Officials are giving more details about the law enforcement response to a mass shooting that left 50 dead at a gay Florida nightclub.

The officials spoke at a Monday morning news conference. Orlando police Chief John Mina says an extra officer was working at the Pulse nightclub in full uniform. The officer engaged with the shooter near an entrance. Additional officers entered, and engaged the suspect in another gunbattle. The shooter retreated to the bathroom.

Mina says, “At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people and get them out of the club.”

Officers then secured everything, and the SWAT team was brought in. Mina says officers then set up for an explosive breach on the bathroom wall. Mina says he made the decision to breach the wall, which created a hole through which dozens of clubgoers were rescued. Then the suspect exited through the same hole, and engaged in another gunbattle with officers. Shooter Omar Mateen was then killed.

___

7:30 a.m.

Officials say that families of 24 of the victims from the massacre at a Florida nightclub have been notified.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer described the progress at a Monday morning news conference. He says that by 11 p.m. Sunday, all bodies of victims had been turned over to medical examiner. The massacre early Sunday left 50 dead.

___

7:15 a.m.

A former Florida police officer who says he once worked with Orlando club shooter Omar Mateen described the 29-year-old as “unstable and unhinged.”

Daniel Gilroy told multiple news outlets that he worked with Mateen at the G4S security company. Gilroy called him an angry, loud, profane man who used slurs for gay people, blacks, Jews and women. Gilroy said Mateen also regularly made threats of violence.

Gilroy told The New York Times, “He talked about killing people all the time.” And Gilroy wasn’t surprised when he learned of the massacre: He said, “I saw it coming.”

Gilroy said Mateen started badgering him and sending dozens of text messages to him daily. Gilroy said he reported Mateen’s behavior to his bosses.

Gilroy says: “I kind of feel a little guilty that I didn’t fight harder. If I didn’t walk away and I fought, then maybe 50 people would still be alive today.”

___

The item has been corrected to show the name of security company is G4S, not G45

__

6:05 a.m.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling says one victim of the Orlando nightclub attack worked on the Harry Potter Ride at the Universal Studios theme park.

The author tweeted a picture of 22-year-old Luis Vielma in a Hogwarts school tie, and said: “I can’t stop crying.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron have sent messages of condolence from Britain for the attack, which killed 50 people at a gay nightclub.

Cameron said he was “horrified” by the shooting.

Buckingham Palace says the queen sent a message to President Barack Obama saying: “Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.”

___

5:50 a.m.

The Islamic State’s radio has called the Orlando mass shooter “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America.”

Al-Bayan Radio, a media outlet for the IS extremist group, on Monday hailed the attack that left 50 people dead, saying it targeted a gathering of Christians and gays and that it’s the worst attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at a gay nightclub early Sunday before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded in the shooting.

The broadcast is apparently an opportunistic statement as IS has not officially claimed responsibility for the Orlando attack.

___

3:45 a.m.

Israel’s ceremonial president says the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded dozens more is “as cowardly as it is abhorrent.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Reuven Rivlin says Monday that Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters” after the attack on the LGBT community.

He sent his condolences and said there is “no comfort for those who have had their loved ones torn away from them.”

The Orlando attack has dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. On Wednesday two Palestinian gunmen killed four people at a popular shopping and restaurant area in Tel Aviv.

LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.

___

3 a.m.  June 13, 2016

Dozens of bodies were slowly removed overnight from a popular Orlando gay club after a gunman sprayed the helpless crowd with bullets in violence that killed 50 people and devastated a city famous for family-friendly theme parks.

When the attacker opened fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, it interrupted an evening of drinking, dancing and drag shows at a club known for tolerance for all people.

Authorities say suspect Omar Mateen emerged, carrying an AR-15 and fired relentlessly — 20 rounds, 40, then 50 and more. In such tight quarters, the bullets could hardly miss. He shot at police. He took hostages.

When the gunfire at the Pulse Orlando club finally stopped, 50 people were dead and dozens critically wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

___

9:00 p.m.  

The ex-wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman says he was “mentally unstable and mentally ill.”

Sitora Yusifiy, speaking to reporters in Boulder, Colorado, says Omar Mateen was bipolar and also had a history with steroids.

She says that in the four months they were together he cut her off from her family and regularly beat her. She says that her family visited her and saw she wasn’t OK and rescued her from the situation.

Yusifiy says they literally pulled her out of his arms. She says she left all her belongings and has had no contact with him for seven or eight years.

She says Mateen was religious, but she saw no signs of radicalism.

Of the nightclub massacre she says, “there was no sign of any of this at all.”

___

8:50 p.m.

Officials have started removing bodies from inside an Orlando nightclub where 50 people were shot and killed.

Sunday night, workers brought four bodies on stretchers out of club Pulse and loaded them into white vans. The action was repeated over and over.

The bodies were then taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire at the nightclub, killing 50 people and wounding more than 50 others before he was gunned down by police.

___

7 p.m.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee tells The Associated Press that investigators have not yet found evidence of direct communication between the Orlando nightclub gunman and Islamic State members overseas.

Rep. Adam Schiff has been briefed multiple times by federal law enforcement. He says it is possible that Omar Mateen was self-radicalized but not “under the command and control of ISIS.”

The California congressman says that could change and that it’s too early to know whether there was something that could have been done to prevent the attack.

The FBI investigated Mateen in 2013 after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists. The following year, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria.

He was cleared after both investigations.

___

6:40 p.m.

Seattle’s openly gay Mayor Ed Murray says that every time progress is made in the U.S., there’s a blow back and an increase in gay lesbian bisexual transgender violence.

Murray made the remarks Sunday after a gunman slaughtered 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Murray says the massacre is absolutely an attempt at intimidation and fear. He says the community will come together and will not be intimidated.

___

The father of the Orlando nightclub gunman has a television show on Payam-e-Afghan, a California-based channel that supports ethnic solidarity with the Afghan Taliban, which are mostly Pashtun.

Viewers from Pashtun communities in the United States regularly call in to espouse support for Pashtun domination of Afghanistan over the nation’s minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks.

Seddique Mateen’s “Durand Jirga Show” has an anti-Pakistan slant. The name of the show references the Durand line, the long-disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A former Afghan official said Seddique Mateen’s show also expresses sympathy for the Taliban, complains about foreigners in Afghanistan and criticizes U.S. actions there. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.

Seddique Mateen, who lavished praise on current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when he appeared on the TV program in January 2014, has since denounced the Ghani government. The official said that on Saturday, Seddique Mateen, dressed in military fatigues, used his program to criticize the current Afghan government and announce that he would run in the next Afghan presidential election.

___

6:10 p.m.

A woman whose cousin was shot at a gay Orlando nightclub says he is in critical condition at a hospital.

LaToya Hall says her cousin Keon Carter was in the Pulse club early Sunday when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others.

Hall says her cousin is alert at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She says he tried to hold her hand and turn his eyes to look at her.

Hall says many people are having trouble locating victims because they are being listed under fake names.

___

5:20 p.m.

American Muslim leaders are condemning the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded more than 50 others.

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the killings a hate crime and said the group has no tolerance for extremism of any kind.

A law enforcement official has said the gunman, Omar Mateen, called 911 from the nightclub and expressed allegiance to an Islamic State leader.

Awad says members of the LGBT community have stood with Muslims in the past and today they stand that community.

___

TNT has postponed the season premiere of “The Last Ship” in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.

The show, which stars Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra and Adam Baldwin, is about a group of people who’ve survived a pandemic that killed 80 percent of the world’s population.

The network says in a statement that its hearts are with the victims and their families.

___

4:50 p.m.

About 100 people gathered in Paris for a spontaneous vigil at Place Igor Stravinsky to remember those slain and wounded at an Orlando nightclub.

Several people were draped in rainbow flags. They lit candles and took pictures as a person in head-to-toe fetish gear held up a sign saying “Proud.” One woman carried a poster showing a ribbon with a rainbow on one side and an American flag on the other.

“To Orlando, we have love,” it read.

Remi Perrenoud, 30, said the news hit him particularly hard because, like the victims, he had been out partying at a gay club Saturday night.

Ian Brossat, the capital’s deputy mayor for housing, was at the vigil too. He says it seems important to mobilize to voice solidarity and to underline the fight against homophobia.

___

The Orlando mayor says of the 50 victims who died from the shooting at a gay nightclub, 39 were killed at the club and 11 people died at hospitals.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says at first officers mistakenly thought the gunman had strapped explosives to the dead victims and that the club was boob-trapped. A bomb robot sent back images of a battery part next to a body.

Dyer says that held up paramedics from going in until it was determined it was something that fell out of an exit sign or a smoke detector.

The robot was sent in after SWAT team members put explosive charges on a wall and an armored vehicle knocked the wall down in an effort to rescue hostages.

___

4:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the gunman who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub made a 911 call from the club, professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The law enforcement official is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 50 people and wounding more than 50 others before he was gunned down by police.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Authorities were investigating the attack on the Florida dance club as an act of terrorism.

___

4:20 p.m.

A former Afghan official says the father of the Orlando nightclub gunman is a native of Afghanistan who appears on a television program known for “its anti-US tirades” and “pro-Taliban” remarks.

The official says the gunman’s father is Seddique Mateen and that the program is broadcast in the Dari language. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.

Mateen is the father of Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed 50 people at the nightclub.

The official said Seddique Mateen’s “Durand Jirga Show” is anti-Pakistan. The name of the show references the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Seddique Mateen campaigned in the United States for current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who appeared on his program in 2014. The program’s studio has an address in Fort Pierce, Florida.

___

Afghanistan’s president says he “strongly condemns” the attack on a Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement Sunday that “targeting civilians is not justifiable under any circumstances whatsoever.” He offered his condolences to President Barack Obama, the American people and the families of the victims.

Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also offered his condolences.

Shooter Omar Mateen was born in New York. His ex-wife told The Washington Post that Mateen’s family was from Afghanistan. The family later moved to Florida.

The ex-wife is not named in the Post report.

4:05 p.m.

The FBI says agents twice investigated the man who killed 50 people inside a gay nightclub, but closed those cases after interviewing him.

FBI agent Ronald Hopper said Sunday that Omar Mateen had been interviewed in 2013 and 2014. Hopper said agents first investigated Mateen after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists.

Mateen was interviewed twice and, when investigators were unable to verify the details of his comments, the FBI closed the probe.

In 2014, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Like Mateen, Abusalha lived in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Hopper says agents determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time.

Mateen was 29 years old and born in New York. The FBI says he referred to the Islamic State in a 911 call before the slayings.

___

4:05 p.m.

Organizers of Denver’s PrideFest, which holds a parade and rally that has attracted hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in past years, is going ahead with their festival next weekend amid heavy security following the shooting deaths of at least 50 people inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday.

Organizer Debra Pollock says parade and rally participants in Denver have always been security-conscious, but members of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado have also received training on how to deal with active-shooter situations.

Pollock says the organizers will have metal detectors and fences set up at Civic Center Park for the rally, and there will also be security on the parade route and people will be searched as in past years.

___

3:45 p.m.

The city of Orlando is publishing the names of those killed in a massacre at a gay nightclub on its website after their families have been contacted.

As of 3:45 p.m. Sunday, the list had four names. Fifty people were killed.

Shooter Omar Mateen was killed; his name is not on the list.

Fifty-three more were hospitalized.

The city’s website includes the #PrayforOrlando hashtag and says officials are “working tirelessly” to get information to families.

The list can be found at http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/

Victims City of Orlando

___

3:25 p.m.

The ex-wife of the man authorities say killed 50 people at an Orlando nightclub says he beat her repeatedly while they were married.

The ex-wife told The Washington Post that she met Omar Mateen online about eight years ago and decided to move to Florida and marry him. The ex-wife, who wasn’t named in the report, says at first the marriage was normal, but then he became abusive.

They were together for only a few months and her parents intervened when they learned Mateen had assaulted her. She says he wasn’t very religious and gave no signs of radical Islam. She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents.

Mateen’s ex-wife said his family was from Afghanistan, but her ex-husband was born in New York. His family later moved to Florida.

___

3:20 p.m.

Officials are giving more details about the shooter in a massacre at a gay Orlando nightclub.

Ronald Hopper of the FBI says shooter Omar Mateen was 29 and an American citizen. He was not under surveillance at the time of the shooting.

Hooper says Mateen purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so.

Hooper says some 911 calls involving the shooter and the massacre have become federal evidence. He says the conversations involved the Islamic State.

Hooper says the shooter in 2013 made inflammatory comments to co-workers, and that Mateen was interviewed twice. Hooper calls those interviews inconclusive.

In 2014, Hooper says, officials found that Mateen had ties to an American suicide bomber. Hooper describes the contact as minimal; it did not constitute a threat at that time.

___

3:15 p.m.

Police say a total of 14 law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter at a gay Florida nightclub.

Orlando police Chief John Mina and other officials gave the details at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

They say 11 Orlando police officers and three deputy sheriffs actively engaged, and fired their weapons. They’re relieved of duties pending an investigation. That’s typical procedure in such cases.

___

3:15 p.m.

The suspected Orlando night club shooter Omar Mateen was a security guard with G4S. In a 2012 newsletter, the firm identified him as working in West Palm Beach.

In a statement sent to the Palm Beach Post, the security company confirmed his employment.

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Orlando nightclub. We can confirm that Omar Mateen had been employed with G4S since September 10, 2007. We are cooperating fully with all law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, as they conduct their investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy.”

___

3 p.m.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the man who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando called 911 shortly before the attack and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The media outlets cited unnamed law enforcement officials in their reports.

Danny Banks is an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He says authorities are investigating whether the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history was an act of domestic or international terrorism, and if the shooter acted alone.

The suspect in the Orlando attack was identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. The gunman’s father recalled to NBC News that his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami and said that might be related to the assault.

___

2:55 p.m.

People who were inside the gay Florida nightclub where 50 people were killed are describing a scene of mass chaos.

Two men who were in Club Pulse discussed the Sunday massacre in Facebook chats with The Associated Press.

Orlando resident Brand White was shot. He says, “We are dancing and all of a sudden it just started like a rolling thunder, loud and everything went black.”

The 30-year-old was with his cousin, who mentioned something about “a guy with a bomb.” After that, White says, his memory is fuzzy; he said he doesn’t recall leaving the club or who took him to the hospital.

White was shot in the shoulder. He spoke to The AP as he was being monitored at a hospital. He said he received a blood transfusion.

His cousin was unaccounted for — no one had heard from him as of 2:45 p.m.

Another man, Brett Rigas, says he and his partner were dancing when they heard shots. Rigas was shot in the arm and hid behind a bar. About five minutes later, authorities came in and told everyone to put their hands up and run out.

Rigas said he saw bodies as he ran out.

___

2:45 p.m.

The suspected Orlando nightclub gunman had been licensed as a private security officer in Florida.

State records show suspected shooter Omar Mateen held the firearms license since at least 2011. It was set to expire in September 2017.

It wasn’t immediately clear where, if anywhere, Mateen had worked as a security officer. An armed guard license in Florida requires 28 hours of classroom training by a licensed instructor.

___

2:35 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is cutting short a visit to Beijing for cybersecurity meetings with Chinese officials and returning to the United States to monitor developments in the nightclub shooting investigation.

Lynch says the Justice Department, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is supporting the investigation.

She says in a statement that she’s gotten updates from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey.

___

2:35 p.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.

Netanyahu said Sunday that “on behalf of the people and government of Israel, I extend our deepest condolences to the American people following last night’s horrific attack on the LGBT community in Orlando.”

He wished “heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims” and “full and speedy recovery to the wounded.”

The Orlando attack dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. On Wednesday two Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded five others in Tel Aviv.

LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.

___

2:25 p.m.

Police departments across the country are increasing patrols near locations frequented by the LGBT community after a gunman killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

In Los Angeles, the mayor says a heavily armed person who was headed to a gay pride parade had been arrested by Santa Monica police. Mayor Eric Garcetti says the arrest was completely unrelated to the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Officer Ernesto Rodriguez of Miami Beach Police Department says the agency is saddened by the massacre and out of an abundance of caution will step up patrols. Boston Pride organizers plan to hold a moment of silence at this weekend’s scheduled block parties to honor the Orlando victims and police there said there will be a heavier presence at those events.

The Baltimore Police Department says it is reaching out to the city’s LBGT community to discuss concerns and safety after the Orlando massacre.

___

2:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the worst mass shooting in U.S. history is a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a weapon that allows them to shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, a movie theater or a gay nightclub.

Speaking from the White House, Obama says the United States has to decide if that is the “country we want to be.” He says that doing nothing is a decision as well.

The shooting has thrust the topic of gun control back into focus as a presidential election nears.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has called for expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and online purchases, and for reinstating a ban on assault weapons. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said the existing background check system should be fixed, not expanded, and that assault-weapons bans do not work.

___

2:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings until sunset Thursday “as a mark of respect for victims of the act of hatred and terror” at a gay Florida nightclub.

He’s also directing the same observance at embassies and other U.S. government facilities abroad.

Obama addressed the nation Sunday, calling the shooting “an act of terror” and an “act of hate.”

Fifty were killed, including the shooter, and 53 more hospitalized.

___

2:15 p.m.

Donald Trump isn’t pausing his political commentary for the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolding in Florida.

It was unclear whether the shooter who killed at least 50 people in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub was associated with a radical religious organization. President Barack Obama addressed the nation, calling the shooting “an act of terror” and an “act of hate.”

Trump tweeted as Obama began speaking: “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that the shooter in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub was known to the FBI before the incident and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.

The official spoke to The Associated Press Sunday about the shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and on spoke on condition of anonymity.

— AP Writer Eric Tucker in Washington

___

2:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the nightclub shooting in Orlando was an “act of terror” and an “act of hate.”

He said Sunday that the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism and that no effort will be spared to determine whether the shooter was affiliated with terrorist groups.

Obama is speaking at the White House after 50 people were killed overnight at a nightclub in Florida. Officials have said 53 more are hospitalized.

Obama is noting that the killer targeted a gay nightclub. He says it’s a “sobering reminder” that an attack on any American is an attack “on all of us.”

___

2 p.m.

A bartender who was working at the Orlando nightclub when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others says at first she thought the gunshots were music.

But after a second shot there was a pause, and then more shots and Tiffany Johnson realized something was wrong.

Johnson says people dropped to the ground and started running out of the Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning. She ran to a fast-food restaurant across the street and met one of her customers who let her get in his car and they drove away.

Johnson says her first instinct was to get somewhere safe.

___

2 p.m.

Sunday evening’s Tony Awards have been dedicated to those affected by the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed at least 50 people.

In a statement Sunday, the Tony Awards said “our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy.” The awards, it said, will be dedicated to the friends and family of those affected by the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.

Organizers didn’t say how the evening’s broadcast would be affected. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of “Hamilton” — expected to be the night’s big winner — tweeted a rainbow-colored heart with “Orlando” written beneath it.

The Tonys are to be hosted by late-night host James Corden.

___

1:40 p.m.

The Vatican says Pope Francis is expressing the “deepest feelings of horror and condemnation” over a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says the pontiff denounces the “homicidal folly and senseless hatred.”

He added that Francis joins the families of victims and injured in the Sunday massacre in “prayer and compassion.”

___

1:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the shooter in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub was known to the FBI before the incident and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.

The official spoke to The Associated Press Sunday about the shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and on spoke on condition of anonymity.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen of Florida. The official says the matter for which Mateen came under investigation was “open and closed pretty quickly.”

Other details about the matter weren’t immediately available.

—AP reporter Eric Tucker in Washington

___

1:20 p.m.

Hundreds of people in Orlando have lined up to give blood to help the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub.   

Nightclub Shooting Florida

Hundreds of volunteers line up to donate blood at OneBlood Center after the late night shooting at Pulse, an Orlando night club, Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police say. The attack left at least 50 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in American history. (Zack Wittman/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Officials at OneBlood say they have received such an overwhelming response that they are now asking donors to come back over the next several days. More than 50 people were injured and 50 were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning.

In the hours after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, officials urged people to donate blood to help the victims.

In December, the nation’s three-decade-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men was formally lifted, but there are still major restrictions to limit who can give blood. The Food and Drug Administration said it replaced the lifetime ban with a new policy barring donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.

___

12:45 p.m.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says law enforcement officials and the intelligence community are checking to see what information they had on the shooter prior to the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub.

Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “painfully reminiscent” of the November shootings at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris.

He says in a statement, “This morning, I will be marching in the West Hollywood Pride Parade with a heavy heart, but we will march in solidarity with all those who are the victims of terrorism and hatred.”

___

12:30 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub “heartwrenching” and says people who went into the building knowing there was an active shooter are heroic.

He spoke Sunday afternoon at a news conference, hours after 50 people were killed. Officials have said 53 more are hospitalized.

Scott urged people to donate blood. He says officials are doing everything they can.

He says: “This is clearly an act of terrorism. It’s sickening. It should make every American angry.”

Officials have said they’re investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

___

12:25 p.m.

Law enforcement officials are beefing up security for a LGBT pride festival in Washington, D.C., after a deadly shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement that she has been briefed by police Chief Cathy Lanier about increased security measures ahead of Sunday’s Capital Pride Festival.

DC Police tweeted that festivalgoers should expect extra police presence Sunday.

Bowser said Washingtonians “will not be deterred by hate as we gather to celebrate love.”

Festival organizers said that there will be moment of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting at 1 p.m.

Officials said the shooting at the Orlando nightclub left at least 50 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in American history.

___

Noon

A SWAT truck and a bomb disposal unit are on the scene of an address associated with the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

There is a media staging area set up about a block away from the apartment complex in a residential neighborhood in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Sunday. The shooter has been identified Omar Mateen.

Fort Pierce is about 118 miles southeast of Orlando. The apartment complex is a series of two-story buildings.

Numerous police officers and members of the FBI also area there.

___

11:45 a.m.

The father of the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub says he’s in shock and that he wasn’t aware of anything his son might have been planning.

Mir Seddique is the father of Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Seddique told NBC News that his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that may be related to the shooting.

Seddique says: “We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. … We are in shock like the whole country.”

The father also says the incident has nothing to do with religion.

Officials say the shooter was among the 50 killed, and that they’re investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

___

11:45 a.m.

Many are still awaiting word on whether their loved ones are among the 50 killed and 53 hospitalized in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Leinonen was at the popular Pulse club and is missing. That’s according to his mother, Christine Leinonen. She drove to Orlando at 4 a.m. She hasn’t heard from her son and fears the worst. She was standing in front of an Orlando hospital just down the street from Pulse.

She says: “These are nonsensical killings of our children. They’re killing our babies!”

She said her son’s friend made it out alive by hiding in the bathroom and running out as bullets were flying.

Also, on Sunday morning Facebook added a “Facebook Safety Check” for people to find out whether friends and family have tagged themselves as safe. The social network is using the heading “The Shooting in Orlando, Florida.”

It is Facebook’s way of allowing its users who live near the scene of a major crisis to notify people that they’re OK.

__

11:20 a.m.

Families and friends are awaiting word outside an Orlando hospital to learn whether their loved ones are among 50 killed and 53 more hospitalized at a shooting at a gay nightclub.

About 50 people were gathered outside Orlando Regional Medical Center on Sunday, many in tears and anxious.

Fatriana Evans frequents the Pulse nightclub and was outside when shots were fired.

Evans says, “It sounded like fireworks – pop, pop, pop – and then everybody scatters.”

Jackie Smith was inside the club and says two friends next to her were shot. She says she hasn’t gotten updates on their conditions. She came out of the hospital and burst into tears in the arms of friends.

She says: “Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance. I just tried to get out of there.”

___

11 a.m.

Police say the shooter at an Orlando nightclub used an AR-15-type assault rifle on all the victims.

Officials say 50 were killed at the popular gay club. That makes it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Police Chief John Mina said at a Sunday news conference that the shooter used the assault rifle, with unknown rounds, and also had a handgun.

Officials at the news conference also say they have securing the suspect’s vehicle, a van, right outside the club.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Officials have said they’re investigating whether the massacre was an act of terrorism.

Dr. Mike Cheatham is a trauma surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where 46 patients were taken. The majority are in critical condition.

He tells The Associated Press, “I think we will see the death toll rise.”

___

10:50 a.m.

The massacre at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Police Chief John Mina confirmed at a news conference Sunday morning that 50 people were killed, up from 20 as earlier reported.

Mayor Buddy Dyer says 53 more are hospitalized after the early Sunday incident. He says the shooter is among the dead. He also says the shooter used an assault rifle on all those dead. Officials say one officer was shot, and has injuries to his face.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

Officials also have said they’re investigating whether the incident was an act of terrorism.

___

10:30 a.m.

The mayor of Orlando says there were 50 casualties and there are 53 more hospitalized after a mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub there.

“There’s blood everywhere,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said Sunday at a news conference, hours after the shooting.

He says the shooter used an assault rifle on all those killed.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

___

10:20 a.m.

The suspect in the mass shooting at night club in Florida has been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter in the Sunday incident. He cited law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.

A federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation also identified him. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said earlier that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

— Eric Tucker in Washington contributed.

___

10:15 a.m.

Florida’s governor is headed to Orlando after a shooting at a gay nightclub there left about 20 dead and 42 wounded.

Gov. Rick Scott says in a statement Sunday, hours after the incident, that thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The statement says he’ll meet with law enforcement and local officials in Orlando.

Scott says: “We will devote every resource available to assist with the shooting in Orlando. Our state emergency operations center is also monitoring this tragic incident.”

His statement also thanks the first responders.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said earlier that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

___

9:45 a.m.

President Barack Obama has been briefed by his homeland security and counterterrorism adviser about the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left about 20 people dead and 42 wounded.

The White House said Sunday, several hours after the incident, that Obama has been briefed and has asked for regular updates as the FBI and other federal officials work with Orlando police on the case.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that the president has directed federal officials to provide “any necessary assistance to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

___

7:25 a.m.

Police say approximately 20 people have been killed inside a Florida nightclub, and at least 42 were wounded.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina says authorities have not determined an exact number of people killed, but that “approximately 20” have died.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks says the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the early Sunday incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

Mina says the shooter was armed with an assault-type rifle, a handgun and some type of suspicious device. Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a “controlled explosion” at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando, a popular gay dance club. Mina says that noise was caused by a device intended to distract the shooter.

___

7:15 a.m.

Police say multiple people have been killed inside a Florida nightclub, and at least 42 wounded people have been taken to hospitals.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina did not immediately provide an exact number of how many people were killed. Police had said previously that the shooting was a “mass casualty situation.”

Mina says the shooter was armed with an assault-type rifle, a handgun and some type of device. Police had said previously on Twitter that there was a “controlled explosion” at the scene of the shooting at Pulse Orlando.

Mina also says the suspect had exchanged gunshots with an officer working at the club, then went back inside and took hostages around 2 a.m. About three hours later, a SWAT team made the decision to go inside and rescue the hostages. The shooter died in a gunfight with those officers.

___

5:55 a.m.

Police say the person who opened fire inside a popular Florida nightclub is dead.

Orlando Police did not immediately provide further details on the department’s official Twitter account on Sunday. It was not immediately clear how the shooter died. Police described the shooting as a “mass casualty situation” and said local, state and federal agencies were involved in the investigation.

It was not immediately clear how many people were wounded in the shooting, or if any of the victims had died. Police have told people to stay away from the area and said a noise in the vicinity was a “controlled explosion.” No further details were provided on the explosion.

Dozens of emergency vehicles have swarmed the area around the club.

The club, Pulse Orlando, earlier posted on its own Facebook page just after 2 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

___

5:15 a.m.

Police say a loud noise near the scene of a reported shooting at a nightclub in Florida was a “controlled explosion.”

Orlando Police said on the department’s official Twitter account Sunday that media should avoid “reporting inaccuracies.” No further details were immediately provided about the explosion.

Police have said “multiple injuries” were reported following the incident at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near Orange and Kaley avenue. The department also advised people to stay away from area.

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department’s bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Pulse Orlando earlier posted on its own Facebook page just after 2 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

___

4:50 a.m.

Orlando Police say they are responding to a shooting at a nightclub in Florida.

A post on the department’s official Twitter account early Sunday morning says “multiple injuries” have been reported following the incident at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near Orange and Kaley avenue. The department also advises people to stay away from area.

Multiple emergency vehicles have reportedly responded, including the Orlando Fire Department’s bomb squad and hazardous material team.

Pulse Orlando earlier posted on its own Facebook page: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

The incident follows the fatal shooting on Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on “The Voice.”

Story from The Associated Press.

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