ORLANDO, Fla. — Authorities in Orlando, Florida, are working to notify the family members of 49 people killed by a gunman inside a gay nightclub.
Investigators said a gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, went into Pulse nightclub at about 2 a.m. Sunday and opened fire, killing 49 and wounding 53 others.
President Barack Obama spoke about the shooting Monday afternoon, emphasizing the importance of making sure that self-radicalized individuals in our country do not get to purchase weapons.
“We have to go after these terrorist organizations and hit them hard. We have to counter extremism,” Obama said.
Obama said there is no evidence at this time that Mateen was radicalized by ISIS or part of a larger group.
According to our sister station in Orlando, 43 victims remained hospitalized Monday morning.
Mateen was shot and killed by police after an apparent hostage situation ended, and an estimated 30 people were released.
The shooting is the worst shooting in American history.
Orlando police said Monday that notifying victims' family members is their highest priority. At 8 a.m., an estimated 24 of the victims' families had been notified.
The city of Orlando setup a website to share victims' identities but said their names will only be posted once police can confirm their families have been notified.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said of the victims, 39, including the shooter, were killed at the club and 11 people died at hospitals.
After the shooting began, Mateen called 911 to pledge his allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to law enforcement officials.
Authorities were investigating the attack as an act of terrorism. The gunman's father recalled that his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami and said that might be related to the assault.
The victims in the club were all killed with the assault rifle, according to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said they became aware of Mateen in 2013.
There are now questions as to why Mateen was able to legally buy guns, which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed he did two days before the shooting.
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Cox Media Group