Orlando shooting: Omar Mateen identified as shooter
Mateen, 29, was killed in a shootout after taking hostages at Pulse Nightclub early Sunday morning.
Police said the gunman exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went back inside and took hostages among more than 320 people inside.
Around three hours later, a SWAT team entered the nightclub to rescue the hostages, which is when Mateen was killed.
FBI spokesperson Ron Hopper said at a press conference Sunday afternoon that Mateen was known to police for having ties to the so-called Islamic State, and had been dealt with on two separate occasions since 2013. It was determined that contact with the terror group was minimal and there was no threat at that time.
Hopper also said rumours of a 911 call made more than 20 minutes into the attack where Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS were being investigated.
Mateen’s ex-wife, who spoke to the Washington Post anonymously, told the newspaper that he wasn’t religious.
But she did say Mateen was violent and unstable.
“He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that,” she told the Post.
She said Mateen’s family was Afghani, but he was born in New York. The family later moved to Florida.
She said she met Mateen online and moved to Fort Pierce, Fl. to be with him. They got married in 2009.
“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said.
It was only after they were married that he became abusive; she said the marriage only lasted a few months.
The gunman’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC news that the attack “has nothing to do with religion.”
He said his son had been angry after seeing two men kissing in Miami months ago, and that may be related to the shooting.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking,” Seddique told NBC.
“We are in shock like the whole country,”
At a press conference Sunday afternoon, President Barack Obama said the attack was “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
While there was no precise motive yet known, he said the shooter was “a person filled with hatred.”
Police said the gunman had an assault rifle and a hand gun, as well as a suspicious device. They later said the two guns he had purchased within the last few days we obtained legally.
Mateen was confirmed to be a security guard with G4S. In a 2012 newsletter, the firm identified him as working in West Palm Beach.
In a statement sent to the Palm Beach Post, the security company confirmed his employment.
“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Orlando nightclub. We can confirm that Omar Mateen had been employed with G4S since September 10, 2007. We are co-operating fully with all law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, as they conduct their investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy.”
*With files from the Associated Press
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