Gov. Scott requests emergency declaration from president
Scott says state agencies working to respond to any needs
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Calling the massacre at an Orlando nightclub "an attack on our state and entire nation," Gov. Rick Scott early Monday asked President Barack Obama for a federal emergency declaration in Florida.
Scott's requested the declaration under a federal law known as the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which can help provide federal aid to states after disasters.
"During a June 12, 2016 press conference, you accurately characterized the terrorist attack as a 'horrific massacre,' " Scott wrote in the request to Obama. "I urge you to declare an emergency under the Stafford Act so that 'the full resources of the federal government' can be made for the individuals, families and communities impacted by this 'horrific massacre.' "
Scott's request came a little more than 24 hours after lone gunman Omar Mateen, 29, went to the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando and committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Fifty people died and 53 people were wounded in the incident, which Obama, Scott and other authorities said was an act of terrorism.
Mateen, who died in a shootout with police, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorism group during the incident. Authorities said during a news conference Monday morning that 48 of 49 of the victims had been identified and that the process of notifying families was ongoing. Mateen's death brought the total to 50.
Scott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Orange County. In his request Monday to Obama, Scott issued an accompanying statement that said he had been "in contact with some of the victims' families to let them know we are grieving with them and will be there for them every step of the way."
"Our state is mourning, but the Orlando community is strong," Scott said in the statement. "We are all coming together, and we will get through this together. I ask every American to continue to pray for our state and nation and all those affected by this terror attack."
During the news conference Monday morning, Orlando police provided more details about the attack, and federal, state and local officials said they were continuing the investigation and trying to help victims and families.
On Sunday, Obama made a nationally televised address about the attack, which he described as an "especially heartbreaking day for all of our friends --- our fellow Americans --- who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
"The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live," Obama said. "The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub --- it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights."
Florida Division of Emergency Management
- The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee activated to a level 1 at 11:00 AM EST. The SEOC is coordinating efforts with federal, state and local partners to monitor and respond as needed.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- FDLE is coordinating with the FBI, the Orlando Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on the terrorist attack and ongoing investigation.
- FDLE is assisting the FBI investigating links to terrorism, and the Florida Fusion Center continues to share resources, expertise, and information to better identify, detect, prevent, apprehend and respond to criminal and terrorist activity utilizing an all crimes/all hazards approach.
- FDLE is also leading the officer-involved shooting investigation. All involved officers have been relieved of duties per normal officer-involved shooting procedure.
- FDLE encourages all Floridians and visitors to report suspicious activity. “If You See Something, Say Something™” by calling 1-855-FLA-SAFE or report online at FDLE.State.FL.US.
Florida Department of Health
- The Florida Department of Health has activated the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System and deployed a 20 person Victim Identification Unit to support the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office.
- The department is closely monitoring the supply of blood in the area and is in regular contact with OneBlood and other Orlando area blood banks. Blood banks reported that donation centers are overcrowded with willing donors; the blood center is at full capacity and DOH is asking donors to make appointments and to donate later in the week. Residents who are interested in donating blood should schedule an appointment later this week via www.oneblood.org.
- DOH has activated personnel to support the Florida Fusion Center at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
- DOH has established contact with the Florida Crisis Consortia and proactively alerted Disaster Behavioral Health Teams to be on stand-by for future deployments.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
- The Orlando Command Center Staff are set up in the parking lot of the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center. DJJ staff have redirected center staff and visitors for the day to an alternate access for the center. Command center staff have access to the lobby of the building for use of facilities, should they need them.
Florida Department of Transportation
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) remains in constant contact with all local and district partners and stands ready to offer traffic and road closure support if needed.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stands ready to assist with traffic and road closure support if needed.
- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles urges all Floridians to register or update their Emergency Contact Information (ECI). By registering emergency contact information, an individual’s family and loved ones can have peace of mind that law enforcement can reach them in the event of an emergency. Individuals can register or update their ECI here: www.flhsmv.gov/ECI.
Florida Department of Education
- The Orange County Public Schools Headquarters Office will implement heighted security tomorrow and grief counselors will be available if needed. All Orange County Public Schools are currently out for summer break.
News Service of Florida