(WASHINGTON MONTHLY)

By D.R. Tucker

I want to ask when the gun violence will finally stop in this country. But I know better than to ask, because the answer is “not anytime soon.”

A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded Florida nightclub, killing approximately 20 people dead and wounding 42 others before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said Sunday.

Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of “suspicious device.” He said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went back inside and took hostages.

Around 5 a.m., authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages, and the suspect then died in a gunfight with those officers. Mina said police have not determined an exact number of casualties, but that “approximately 20” people were dead inside the club.

FBI spokesman Danny Banks said during a news conference that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether this was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

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