Orlando shooting: What happened in the Pulse nightclub attack.

A gunman has killed 50 people and injured 53 others at a crowded nightclub in Orlando. Here’s how the attack unfolded.

The gunman, who police  drove a van to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando about 2am local time.

He entered the club at 2:02am, Orlando police chief John Mina said.

The gay nightclub was crowded with about 350 people attending a Latin music night.

Police said the suspect was armed with an AR-15-type assault rifle and a handgun.

A police officer who was working “extra duties” at the club responded and exchanged fire with the suspect.

At some point, the gunman went outside the club and then returned inside. Details on the exact sequence of events remain unclear.

About 3am, the club posted a warning on Facebook: “Everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.”

Chief Mina said a hostage situation then developed, and police built up their presence around the club.

At 5am authorities decided to raid the building to rescue those still inside.

A SWAT team of nine officers stormed the venue, using explosives and breaking through a wall with a wheeled armoured vehicle known as a BearCat.

Mateen was shot and killed. One officer was shot in the head but his Kevlar helmet saved him from serious injury.


Chief Mina said about 30 people were rescued during the operation.

It was unclear whether all the victims were killed by the gunman or if some died in the ensuing shootout.

Clubber Ricardo Negron, who was inside when the shooting began, described how the gunman sprayed the club with bullets.

“People just dropped on the floor. I guess the shooter was shooting at the ceiling because you could see all the glass from the lamps falling,” he told Sky News.

Witness Christopher Hansen said there was “blood everywhere”. [ Read more eyewitness accounts of the Orlando shooting ]

Officials said the gunman, Omar Mateen, had called 911 before the shooting and made comments saying he supported the Islamic State militant group.

US officials cautioned, however, that they had no conclusive evidence of any direct connection with Islamic State or any other foreign extremist group.

This post originally appeared on ABC News. 

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here

Feature image via Getty.