Police: Approximately 20 Dead in Shooting Rampage at Orlando Nightclub

Nightclub Shooting Florida
Emergency personnel wait with stretchers at the emergency entrance to Orlando Regional Medical Center hospital for the arrival of patients from the scene of a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. / AP
June 12, 2016

A mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early Sunday has left approximately 20 people dead, according to reports.

The gunman, who reportedly used an assault rifle and handgun in what appeared to be a planned attack, wounded 42 others in the rampage and took hostages before being killed in a firefight with SWAT forces.

The shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism, the Associated Press reports:

Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of "suspicious device." He said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went back inside and took hostages.

Around 5 a.m., authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages, and the suspect then died in a gunfight with those officers. Mina said police have not determined an exact number of casualties, but that "approximately 20" people were dead inside the club.

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

An FBI representative told reporters at a news conference in Orlando Sunday there were indications the shooter had leanings toward radical Islamism, but nothing definitive was known at this time.