A night of partying and dancing at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, turned into a killing ground and three hours of terror for early-morning revelers when a gunman opened fire around 2 a.m. ET inside the club, killing 50 people and wounding at least 53 in what is being called the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Here’s a rough timeline of the three hours from the time the gunman gained entrance to the club, Pulse Orlando, around 2 a.m. ET to the time authorities killed the assailant around 5 a.m. ET. (All times are Eastern standard time).
2:02 a.m. Shots ring out as a police officer working as a security guard engages in gun battle with assailant, Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., outside the Pulse Orlando nightclub around closing time, according to Orlando police chief John Mina. Mateen was armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle, a handgun, and an unidentified device.
The gunman makes way into club, where more than 300 people were enjoying Latino night, and opens fire, causing chaos as patrons realize what is unfolding. Mateen fired an "unknown number of rounds," the police chief said. "There were numerous shots." Eyewitnesses said people on the dance floor and around the bar area dived to the floor, with some lucky enough to flee, USA Today reports.