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UPDATE (12:00 pm): The death toll had risen to at least 50 people. The gunman has been identified as Omar Mateen.

At least 20 people were killed, and many more were injured, in a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub called Pulse early this morning (June 12). Reportedly, the shooter is dead after getting into a gunfight with local authorities. 

Reports the New York Times:

About 20 people were killed and at least 42 people were wounded when a gunman armed with an assault rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a downtown Orlando nightclub about 2 a.m., Police Chief John Mina said.

The police said they had classified the attack as a “terror incident.” The gunman was not from the Orlando area and was organized and well-prepared, they said.

The gunman was found dead inside the Pulse nightclub, one of the largest in Orlando, about 5 a.m. after a shootout with the police, Chief Mina said.

The chief said it was difficult to assess the number of clubgoers who were killed because, as of 7:15 a.m., many of the bodies had not been removed.

The shooting began inside the club, the chief said, and continued outside when an officer working at Pulse attempted to confront him. The gunman then went back into the club, resumed shooting and took hostages.

At 5 a.m., Chief Mina said, the police decided to rescue the hostages, detonating a “controlled explosion” to help clear the club. At least nine officers were involved in the shooting with the gunman. One of them was slightly injured, the authorities said.

The police called it a “mass casualty” event. The wounded were taken to three area hospitals.

According to the Mirror, Orlando police decided to storm Pulse, which is a gay nightclub, after the shooter took hostages.

What is going on in Orlando? On Friday (June 10), up and coming singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed by a fan while signing  autographs after a show outside the Plaza Live Theater.

Prayers up to all those affected. #PrayForOrlando

Photo: Orlando PD