A gunman who federal authorities say had possible ties to terrorism opened fire early Sunday morning at a packed Orlando nightclub, killing 50 people and wounding at least 53 more in a bloody scene that ended hours later when police stormed the building and killed the shooter.
"This is an incident … that we certainly classify as a domestic terror incident," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at the press conference held Sunday morning, according to The Washington Post.
The gunman was identified as Omar Mateen, Rep. Alan Grayson said during the press conference. Mateen was a U.S. citizen, Grayson said, though that was "not true of other family members of his." Mateen, 29, lived in Fort Pierce, Fla. He was born in the U.S. to parents of Afghan origin and was a Muslim, Fox News confirmed.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer asked Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency following the attack, which is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Before today, the most deadly domestic shooting happened on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. A lone gunman, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people before killing himself.
Authorities were going through Mateen’s belongings on Sunday morning trying to identify a motive for the attack, Grayson said.