UPDATE: ISIS claimed responsibility for the Pulse nightclub attack.
June 13, 2016 A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official said the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. Police say at least 50 people were killed in the deadly attack.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina confirmed that 49 people were killed during Saturday night’s mass shooting at a crowded gay nightclub during a news conference Sunday morning.
Chief Mina confirmed that a lone gunman took scores of people hostage inside the nightclub between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., and approximately 42 people were taken to area hospitals. There were around 320 people in the club when the hostage situation unfolded.
During the news conference, a FBI spokesman said there is evidence that suggests the gunman may have leanings toward a Jihadist ideology. The gunman, described as a “lone wolf” was killed by police. The gunman was armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and was wearing what is suspected to be an explosive device. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office hazardous device team is now searching the area for other explosives.
In February, a mass shooting killed two people and left nine others injured at the Glitz Ultra Lounge night club in Orlando’s tourism district. Worldwide, “soft targets” such as restaurants, night clubs, and shopping malls have been highly favored targets to terrorist organizations. In recent years, mass shootings at public places including shopping malls, movie theaters, nightclubs and stadiums where hundreds of people gather have illustrated the need for increased security and public safety awareness.
Soft targets are particularly attractive to terrorists for the lax security that leave them relatively unprotected and therefore easy targets. In the U.S., because eighty-five percent of the critical infrastructure is privately owned public space, the role of the
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security in protecting Americans is limited. In al-Qaeda’s manual, the terrorist organization encourages “spectacular attacks” that can kill thousands, or even millions of people and cripple both the American economy and damage the American psyche. Both al Qaeda and ISIS terrorist groups have specifically called on members and “lone wolf” terrorists in the West to carry out attacks on nightclubs.