For Ray “DJ Infinite” Riviera, a veteran mixer and resident jock at gay nightclub Pulse, another Saturday night behind the decks was coming to a close. According to an interview with The Daily Beast, he started playing reggae around 2 a.m. to transition the crowd who were there for Latin night when he heard four pops. At first he thought they were firecrackers, but quickly realized it was gunfire. A premeditated act of terrorism and a hate crime conducted by Omar Mateen had begun. Armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle, Mateen began a horrific and bloody shooting spree that injured more than 100 people and killed 50, becoming the worst mass shooting in American history.
“I ducked behind my DJ booth,” Rivera said. “People were running from the main room, out to the patio, which leads into the parking lot… It emptied out quickly. Basically everybody was just panicking… I looked inside and saw people were laying on the floor in the main club.” Rivera took cover with two other patrons, reporting that he helped one of the patrons escape. “Then the officers were there, guns drawn—they showed up there within a minute or so,” he said. “Cars were coming out of everywhere.”
Mateen reportedly took hostage several patrons hiding in a bathroom. Four hours later a SWAT unit entered the club and killed Mateen in lengthy gun battle. Rivera was later taken to the local police station to give a statement, along with several other witnesses.
According to the New York Times, hours after the attack, the Islamic State claimed responsibility in a statement released over an encrypted phone app used by the group. It stated that the attack “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,” according to a transcript provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist propaganda.
This is a developing story. We will bring you more news as we learn more.