Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Orange County after the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub Sunday morning, which has so far claimed 50 lives and is the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
In an executive order issued Sunday, Scott declared that Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Richard Swearingen would be the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of the emergency.
In the order, Scott announced that Swearingen has the authority to direct the state’s Emergency Management Plan and coordinate the response, recovery and mitigation plans to cope with the emergency. He will work closely with Scott to “the fullest extent practicable.”
He will have the authority to coordinate with any agencies of the United States Government necessary who can help with the emergency, and to direct state, regional and local government personnel to identify personnel needed to deal with the crisis. He will also work with the allocation of resources from neighboring communities, where needed in Orlando and Orange County.
The City of Orlando had already declared a state of emergency earlier on Sunday.
Police departments across the country are also increasing patrols in areas frequented by the LGBT community.
President Barack Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings until sunset Thursday “as a mark of respect for victims of the act of hatred and terror.”
He’s also directing the same observance at embassies and other U.S. government facilities abroad.
Obama addressed the nation Sunday, calling the shooting “an act of terror” and an “act of hate.”
So far, 50 people have been killed, including the shooter, with another 53 more hospitalized.