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Obama: Orlando nightclub shooting was 'an act of terror and an act of hate'

By
Daniel Uria
President Barack Obama makes a statement Sunday on the Orlando mass shooting in Florida where at least 50 people were killed. Pool photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI
President Barack Obama makes a statement Sunday on the Orlando mass shooting in Florida where at least 50 people were killed. Pool photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., June 12 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, calling the massacre at an Orlando nightclub "an act of terror and an act of hate."

Obama condemned the shooting -- which left 50 dead and 53 injured -- and addressed the impact that the incident at the popular gay nightclub had on the LGBT community.

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"Although its still early in the investigation we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate and as Americans we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people," he said.

Obama clarified that the no definitive judgment for the motive had been determined but that the FBI was investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism.

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"What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred," Obama said. "Over the coming days we will uncover how and why this happened and we will go wherever the facts lead us."

The shooting was the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history and Obama noted that the shooter was armed with a handgun and a high-powered assault rifle.

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"This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub," he said. "And we have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well."

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The president stated that the attack was "especially heartbreaking" for members of the LGBT community.

"The place where they were attacked is more than a night club," he said. "It is a place solidarity and empowerment where people come together to raise awareness to speak there minds and to advocate for their civil rights."

Obama also expressed condolences to the people of Orlando and pledged that the government would offer any help necessary.

"As a country we will be with the people of Orlando today tomorrow and all the days to come," he said.

Obama also ordered the American flag to be flown at half staff at all U.S. governmental, military and consulate locations worldwide.

"As a mark of respect for the victims of the acts of hatred and terror perpetrated on Sunday."

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The White House flag flies at half staff following President Barack Obama's statement Sunday about the deadly shooting the night before in a gay nightclub in Orlando Fla. Approximately 50 people were killed and at least 53 more were injured in what appears to be the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Pool photo by Pete Marovich/UPI

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