Homophobic, Woman Beating Gunman Kills 49 and Wounds Another 50 at Orlando Gay Nightclub
Early Sunday morning, 29 year-old Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida entered the Pulse Club in Orlando with a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle (*not an AR-15 as previously reported) and handgun, according to officials. Mateen opened fire killing 49 people, injuring at least 50 more and taking hostages, before an Orlando SWAT team shot and killed Mateen while rescuing the hostages. His killing spree inside Pulse was the deadliest mass shooting on record, surpassing the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where 32 lives were taken and 17 people were wounded.
Like most other lone wolf gunmen wreaking havoc on U.S. cities, Mateen was a homegrown domestic terrorist. Mateen traveled 125 miles to Orlando from Fort Pierce and targeted Pulse because it caters to a predominantly LGBT clientele. Mateen, born in New York, was angered after witnessing two men kissing in Miami one month prior to the attack, according to Seddique Mir Mateen, Mateen's father. Omar Mateen amassed his highly destructive arsenal just one week before the attack. NBC News informed the public that Mateen legally purchased the arsenal with ease thanks to his security and firearm licenses.
Knowledge of Mateen’s firearms licenses has increased fear of lax U.S. gun laws failing to keep the country safe from hourly gun violence. This is especially true considering the FBI who believed Mateen posed a possible threat to national security twice investigated him, yet the State of Florida authorized him to purchase these assault weapons absent a waiting period.
Prior to the attack, Mateen made a 911 call pledging allegiance of some sort to ISIS. However preliminary investigations indicate Mateen was never in contact with the terrorist organization.
We learned from Mateen’s ex-wife (whom he met online), that their marriage ended abruptly after he started to beat her repeatedly. In the time Mateen’s ex-wife new him, she said ‘he was not very religious’ and never showed signs of radicalism. Her account of his non religious leanings comports with Mateen’s father who assured authorities this attack was most likely related to his observing two men publicly displaying affection in Miami.
The investigation remains ongoing and authorities are working feverishly to identify motivations for the attack. At this time, law enforcement has yet speculate the shooter's motivations.