Fifty patrons frequenting the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, have been pronounced dead following the most horrific mass shooting in U.S. history. The reported gunman, Omar Siddiqui Mateen, praised ISIS in a 911 call shortly after the attack.
According to CNN, Mateen, of Ft. Pierce Florida, targeted the popular LGBT establishment due to “anti-homosexual sentiment.” Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters Mateen was heavily armed.
“It appears he was organized and well-prepared. The shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and ‘some type of (other) device’ on him.”
Mateen, 29, was gunned-down by responding officers, thus ending his harrowing act of violence. The gunman, Mateen, was reportedly an ex security guard with a background in weapons training. Investigators who spoke to Mateen’s family found the shooter held a history of anti-homosexual sentiment.
This sentiment and known sympathies to extremist terror-cell ISIS culminated in an act of utter atrocity. Party-goers described the shooting as a chaotic blaze of violence, in which 50 were killed and and 53 wounded.
” ‘People on the dance floor and bar got down on the floor and some of us who were near the bar and back exit managed to go out through the outdoor area and just ran. The shots did not sound like a regular handgun. It sounded like it was shooting repetitively and it wouldn’t stop,’ said Torres, who added that he saw at least 10 people who had been shot.”
Authorities indicated Mateen had been subject to FBI investigation at some point for possible ties to or sympathizing with Islamic extremism. An enforcement official stated there were multiple cases involving Mateen, but subsequent probes didn’t result in sufficient evidence to charge him with any crimes.
During Mateen’s 911 call, the shooter also praised Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Though not officially affiliated with any terrorist cell, it’s apparent Mateen heavily embrace their radical views.
US House of Representatives member Alan Grayson, who was frequenting the popular nightclub, described the scene with these sordid details. “There’s blood everywhere,” “There’s an enormous amount of evidence to be collected.”
“It’s just shocking,” said Christopher Hansen, who was inside Pulse when he heard gunshots, “just one after another after another. It could have lasted a whole song,” he said.Hansen was getting a drink at the bar about 2 a.m. when he “just saw bodies going down.”
Following the attack Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a citywide state of emergency, while Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Orange County, where the attack occurred.
As mentioned, Sunday’s mass shooting was the deadliest in United States history. In a national statement, President Obama declared the shooting “an act of terror and hate.”
Orlando area hospitals have been placed on lockdown following the massacre. While the nation mourns this tragedy, additional details are beginning to surface concerning the shooter, Omar Mateen.
As new information concerning Mateen has become available, here’s a look at his mindset from those who knew him as a child, per The New York Times.
“He was just agitated about everything,” Daniel Gilroy, a former co-worker in the security business, recalled. “Always shaken. Always agitated. Always mad.”
“Unfortunately, Omar had great difficulty focusing on his classwork since he often seeks the attention of his classmates through some sort of noise, disruption, or distraction.”
“He got on, walked up the first couple of steps, held his arms out and made sounds like a motor and then made an explosion sound — and slipped into his seat,” Robert Zirkle, another student on the bus, remembered. “He did this three or four times, and was clearly not in the mood or the same state of mind that we were in. He seemed excited.”
[Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images]