Florida Nightclub Shooter Was Known to FBI Prior to Attack
Yet again, word of another atrocity spread as people called, texted and emailed, news channels moved to 24/7 coverage as facts emerged, officials held hastily convened press conferences where they were unable to provide answers.
The nation and indeed the world looked to its leaders and heard again the same clichés that have now become meaningless with repetition as the president took a moment to offer “thoughts and prayers” as symbolic flag lowering and hashtag memorials began.
This was no disturbed young man, no disgruntled employee.
This morning the world awoke to another act of war.
On a warm summer night in a city not far from DisneyWorld, a 29-year-old man ambushed helpless Americans enjoying themselves on a night out.
Their “crime” to him was that they might be homosexual, they were most certainly “infidels” to his way of thinking, and he was not only justified, but somehow noble in murdering them in cold blood.
In fact, Omar Mateen called 911 to announce his allegiance to ISIS while he was inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and referenced the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Mateen killed 50, wounded even more, and held as many as 30 hostage for hours until a SWAT team stormed into the club and fatally shot him.
Omar Mateen was a Muslim, born in America to Afghani parents, and although his father told NBC News that “this had nothing to do with religion,” he added that Omar had become very angry recently when he saw two men kissing in Miami.
Radical Muslims believe homosexuality is a sin punishable by death, and the spectacle of men being thrown off rooftops and then ripped apart by crowds waiting below is not unusual in the Middle East.
Almost immediately, an FBI spokesman said the mass murder is being treated as an act of terrorism.
And within hours, ISIS took credit for the attack, which occurred in the early days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The FBI has confirmed that it investigated Mateen in 2014, after he met with Moner Abusalha, the first American suicide bomber to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.
It was not the first time Mateen drew attention from the FBI; the agency interviewed him in 2013 after he alarmed co-workers with inflammatory statements.
He was employed by global security firm G4S in Jupiter, Florida for nearly ten years as a licensed security guard, and the two weapons used in the attack, a handgun and an AR15, were purchased legally with the use of his valid state firearm license.
According to county records, the shooter was a registered Democrat in Port St. Lucie County on the eastern coast of Florida. He was married at least twice and leaves behind a three-year-old son.