Omar Mateen, the suspect accused of killing 50 and injuring at least 53 more on Sunday at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, in what has become the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, reportedly pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call he made during the attack.
According to CBS News, Mateen called 911 at the time of the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS. He reportedly provided his full name to the operator and mentioned Boston bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the 911 call.
Omar Mateen had been investigated by the FBI in the past for possible ties to Islamic extremism, officials said, but there was no evidence to charge him with anything.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2016
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, investigators are exploring all angles but have leads that may indicate “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.
Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, claims the mass shooting was “not about religion.” Instead, he said his son became enraged over seeing gay men kissing in public in the weeks preceding the attack, according to Heavy.com.
Law enforcement sources told CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues that Mateen, who worked as a security guard, was on their radar “in the last five years.” There was no formal investigation opened, and the suspect wasn’t under investigation at the time of the mass shooting, Pegues reported.
Mateen was married to Sitora Yusufi for several months before divorcing in 2011, reports CBS news senior investigative producer Pat Milton. A former father-in-law says Mateen was abusive towards a former wife, Pegues reported.
It is unclear if Mateen acted as a “lone” wolf inspired by ISIS or if the attack was a directive by the terrorist group.
In May, a new message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State calling on followers to launch attacks on the United States and Europe during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in early June, according to Reuters.
“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready… to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers… especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.”
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 12, 2016
Earlier on Sunday, witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel they heard at least 40 shots fired inside the popular gay club and estimated that at least 20 people had been shot. Mina said that his officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect in two shootings. One officer sustained an injury to the head in the exchange and was saved by his helmet. The incident began at about 2 a.m., when the shooter took hundreds of club patrons hostage and the Orlando Fire Department called for its bomb squad and hazardous material team to the scene after 3 a.m.
Mateen reportedly carried out the massacre with an AK47 assault rifle, which can be purchased legally in Florida, and a handgun.
Following the incident, emergency workers were seen taking victims away from the scene in large trucks; in one case, as reported by the Sentinel, an emergency worker was doing chest compressions on one of the victims. Kenneth Melendez and his friends were at the club when the shooting happened. Four of his friends were shot and were at ORMC, he told the Sentinel.
“It’s just something that you see in the movies but never think would happen to you. At first, when I heard the shots I thought it was part of the music, but then we realized it was really happening. I started running and saw someone bleeding from the arm and I was like wow this is really happening and I kept running.”
The 911 call reportedly received from Omar Mateen has not been released.
UPDATE: Islamic State’s Amaq news agency said on Sunday it was responsible for the shooting massacre, according to Reuters.
“The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
[Image via the Associated Press]