We’ve heard it all before…”He was such a good boy…this has nothing to do with his Muslim faith.” Never mind that he called 9-11 just before the attack and declared his allegiance to ISIS.
The gunman who slaughtered at least 50 people after taking party-goers hostage inside a gay club in Orlando had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, according to California congressman Adam Schiff.
Schiff, who serves as top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN: ‘What I’ve heard from the Department of Homeland Security this morning is that, according to local police, he made a pledge of allegiance to ISIL (ISIS).’
He said the shooting was ‘highly indicative of an ISIL-inspired attack’.
Schiff added: ‘[He] was heard praying in a foreign language and I don’t know if this was at some point during the course of the shooting but that’s what I’m hearing, obviously second hand, coming ultimately from local police.’
Mateen also called 911 shortly before the shooting and swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Law enforcement sources have identified the shooter, who was wielding an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun, as US citizen Omar Mateen, 29, from Port St. Lucie in Florida.
The gunman, who was born to Afghan parents, opened fire on the dance floor inside Pulse night club in the early hours of this morning.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 others were injured in the shooting in the deadliest mass shooting in US history. A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.
An FBI spokesman said the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism, adding that they are looking into whether this was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.
Schiff said in a statement: ‘This attack is so painfully reminiscent of the terrible attack at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, and other ISIS-inspired attacks in recent years.
‘The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIS leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT night club during Pride, and – if accurate – that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS, indicates an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism.
‘Whether this attack was also ISIS-directed, remains to be determined.’
But Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News his son became angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami several months ago.
‘This has nothing to do with religion,’ he said. ‘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.’
‘They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, “Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that”. And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.’
Seddique said Mateen had a job in security and attended Indian River State College, as well as having an associates degree in criminal justice.
He was a ‘known quantity’ to the FBI and was investigated twice before the mass shooting. A senior law enforcement source told the Daily Beast that Mateen was a person of interest both in 2013 and again in 2014.
An investigation was opened into the 29-year-old, but the case was closed when no evidence appeared to warrant further probing.
‘He’s a known quantity,’ the source said. ‘He’s been on the radar before.’
Writing on Facebook, Pulse, which described itself as the most prominent gay club in Orlando, urged party-goers to ‘get out and keep running’ as bullets started flying at around 2am local time.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2am, then went back inside and took hostages. There were about 320 people inside the club at the time of the shootings and about 100 people were taken hostage.
At around 5am authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages. Nine hero officers used a ‘controlled explosion’ to distract the shooter before fatally shooting him and were able to rescue about 30 hostages who were hiding in the bathroom of the club.
Heartbreaking texts were sent to this victims mother:
Here are two additional texts that were sent to Mina Justice by her 30 year old son Eddie:
A distraught mother is desperately looking for her son:
During the gunfire, an officer was shot, but he was saved by his helmet. It was thought that at least one hostage had been locked in a bathroom with gunshot wounds.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a press conference: ‘Many were saved by the heroic efforts of the men and women of the OPD, the Orange County Sheriffs, Seminal County Sheriff’s office.’
At around 6am local time police tweeted: ‘Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead.’
Twitter accounts which claim to be affiliated to the Islamic State have hailed the shooting, although DailyMail.com cannot confirm whether the terror group was behind the attack.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson identified the shooter as Mateen, citing law enforcement officials in speaking to reporters.
Mateen, a Muslim and father to a three-year-old son, was born in 1986 in New York and married Sitora Alisherzoda Yusufiy, who was born in Uzbekistan, in 2009.
His father told NBC News: ‘We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry.
Via: Daily Mail