Some of these factors, in hindsight, are not surprising but still hard to accept…
Omar Mir Seddique Mateen has been named as the gunman who killed 50 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, CBS News reports.
He was later killed by police after taking hostages at the LGBT club.
Mateen, 29, is a U.S. citizen of Afghani descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida, according to CBS News. He has ties to radical Islamic ideology, CBS reports. His name was confirmed by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson at a press conference.
Port St. Lucie is about 125 miles away from Orlando.
Police have not yet said why Mateen attacked the Pulse club. His father told MSNBC that the shooting was not about his son’s religion, but that his son became very angry after seeing two men kissing in Miami months ago. He said “we are apologizing for the whole incident.”
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country,” Mir Seddique, his father, told NBC News.
Mateen worked as a security guard and drove to Orlando to carry out the attack, CNN’s Evan Perez reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Gunman Exchanged Fire With a Police Officer Outside the Club Before Going Inside & Taking Hostages
“The officer engaged in a gun battle with that suspect. The suspect at some point went back inside the club and more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference.
Mateen was armed with an “assault-type” rifle, a handgun and a “suspicious device,” authorities said.
Management at Pulse took to Facebook to warn people to stay away. Everyone is being asked to stay out of the area.
The attack occurred during Latin Night at Pulse, the one of the largest gay clubs in Orlando.
Kenya Michaels was scheduled to perform at midnight and the shooting took place around 2 a.m. Michaels’ colleagues, who were also at Pulse, are OK, according to posts that were making the rounds on social media. Roxy Andrews posted on Facebook that she was in Tampa and was fine, and that Axel Andrews and Angelica Michelle Jones made it out OK.
Fans of Michaels were on Facebook, posting and requesting an update on the performer’s status. They were asking in response to her post about performing if she was safe. It was later determined that Michaels made it out safe also.
2. He Was Killed by a SWAT Team in an Effort to Rescue Hostages
A video from the scene appears to show the moment the SWAT team engaged in a final gun battle with the suspect:
An officer was wounded during the shootout, but was saved by his Kevlar helmet, police said. More than 30 hostages were rescued from the club.
Mateen has no known criminal history, according to CBS News.
It is not clear if he was known to federal authorities prior to the attack.
3. Police Are Investigating Mateen’s Possible Ties to Radical Islam
Local FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Ron Hopper said at the press conference that there are “suggestions” the gunman “may have leanings” toward Jihadist ideology. Hopper had been asked about whether the shooter was connected to radical Islamic terrorism.
Hopper said they can’t say definitively whether the gunmen is connected to that ideology. He said we’re looking into all angles right now.”
Police were searching Mateen’s home in Port St. Lucie on Sunday morning:
4. Mateen Had Security Officer & Firearms Licenses in Florida
Police have asked anyone with information about the shooting and the gunman to come forward.
“If you have some information, no matter how small you think it may be, that would relate back to today’s events, please share it with us,” Hopper said. “I would urge you to call the 1-800-CALL-FBI public access line, we have phones standing by to take any information or lead whatsoever.”
Hopper said they will be conducting interviews and a huge FBI presence will be seen in coming days.
A man who answered the phone at Mateen’s home, Mustafa Abasin, told NBC News “we are in shock and we are sad,” but didn’t say how he knew Mateen. He said he is helping investigators.
The shooting comes one night after former Voice contestant Christina Grimmie was gunned down outside of Plaza Live, about four miles away from Pulse. The gunman in that shooting, Kevin Loibl, fatally shot himself, police said.
But police said the shootings are not connected.
5. Mateen’s Parents Are From Afghanistan & He Was Married in 2009
Mateen was born in New York, NBC News reports.
He was married in 2009, public records show. It is not clear if he was still married at the time of the attack.
Mateen is a registered Democrat who has also lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, according to online records.
He was also a notary public in Florida, but his license, issued in 2008, expired in 2012, records show.
Source: Youtube, Heavy