Dubbed the “worst terror attack in U.S. History since 9/11,” the Orlando, Fla. nightclub shooting early Sunday, June 12 has left 50 people dead and 53 injured. Considering it was a gay club, it poses the questions, “Was it a hate crime?” or “Was it an act of terrorism?” It’s possibly both.
According to CNN, the FBI had investigated the shooter, Omar Mateen, at some point for possibly having ties to or sympathizing with Islamic extremism. A law enforcement official said there were two cases opened involving Mateen, but their investigations didn’t result in enough evidence to charge him with anything.
In the past two weeks, Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol, found at the shooting scene, from a St. Lucie County area gun store. Investigators have talked to Mateen’s family, who indicated he had expressed anti-gay feelings.
Orlando authorities said they consider the violence an act of domestic terror. The FBI is involved. While investigators are exploring all angles, they “have suggestions the individual has leanings towards (Islamic terrorism), but right now we can’t say definitely,” said Ron Hopper, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Orlando bureau.
Allegedly, Mateen called 911 around the time of the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mention the Boston bombers. “It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. The shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
Orlando police shot and killed Mateen. With the help of the FBI, officials warned a lengthy investigation was ahead given the number of victims and the scope of the violence.