Firefighters responded to the Florida mosque where Omar Mateen, now infamously known as the Pulse nightclub shooter, used to pray early Monday morning, shortly after a fire broke out at the building. The Florida mosque had reportedly been the place of worship for the lone Islamic gunman who stormed Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and brutally shot 49 victims (mostly LGBT) to death in cold blood before being killed by first responders back in June. According to numerous reports, including one from the mosque’s Imam, he worshiped at the Florida mosque, Fort Pierce Islamic Center, from 2003 until the time that he massacred dozens at Pulse nightclub.
According to Florida fire investigators and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, the fire at the Pulse nightclub shooter’s Florida mosque was deliberately set. As CNN reports, investigators have even unearthed video evidence that shows the moment that the arson fire was started. Reportedly, the video depicts an unidentified person coming up to the Florida mosque. In the next scene, the mosque attended by the Pulse nightclub shooter is engulfed in a flash, followed by the fire.
The Florida mosque was reportedly empty at the time the fire broke out.
Florida firefighters were able to put out the fire at the mosque, and based on pictures that have been released of the damage, the building is still standing, but the full extent of the damage isn’t yet known. Reportedly, the Florida mosque once frequented by the Pulse nightclub shooter is still being investigated for structural soundness. Following an assessment of the exterior (and presuming that the building is structurally sound and not in danger of collapse), firefighters will enter to determine whether or not the Florida mosque is salvageable or a total loss.
@FoxNews in Hinduism we learnt abt Karma, my mom taught do good to ppl and God will do u good..same works for bad work I guess— Deplorable TrumpFan (@rsDefiant) September 12, 2016
@CNN And what? We are supposed to feel bad? Our kids were slaughtered ..terrified..texting calling their Mums in their last moments crying.— Leahann Johnston (@Leaha_Luv) September 12, 2016
#Breaking: A fire broke out at the Florida mosque attended by Omar Mateen on the same day as the Muslim holiday of Eid Mubarak— Jenna Abrams (@Jenn_Abrams) September 12, 2016
@AP how many seconds before someone fails to understand violence on both sides is wrong.— Ron Walker (@ronnabe) September 12, 2016
According to firefighters and law enforcement, the fire at the Florida mosque started just after midnight on September 12. Despite the video footage that allegedly shows an unidentified person approaching and behaving suspiciously near the Pulse nightclub shooter’s former house of worship, authorities are not yet sure how the fire at the mosque was started. Based on the flash seen in the video, however, it is possible that some kind of incendiary device was used in the alleged arson.
The Imam of the Pulse nightclub shooter’s Florida mosque spoke out about his mosque’s “peaceful and loving” message shortly after the June 12 Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people. At that time, Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman claimed that prior to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the Pulse nightclub shooter usually came to the Florida mosque every Friday.
“So far as we here in Fort Pierce are concerned, we are always very conscious — consciously speaking about peace, about love, about unity.”
Despite the insistence that the Florida mosque has preached peace, the Pulse nightclub shooter wasn’t the only terrorist to come out of the Fort Pierce Islamic Center. The first American suicide bomber in Syria, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, also worshiped at the Florida mosque.
Even though the fire set at the Florida mosque of the Pulse nightclub shooter occurred three months to the day after the Pulse shooting and just one day after the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, WFTV 9 reports that local authorities are hesitant to officially connect the dots between the events. St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office spokesman David Thompson, who told the media that the fire is believed t0 be the result of arson, says that officials simply don’t want to speculate on any potential connections or motives at this early point in the investigation into the fire at the Florida mosque attended by the Pulse nightclub shooter.
“Right now, I don’t want to speculate on a motive, we all know the implications of the date and time of year this is, the 9/11 anniversary. Is that related? I would not want to speculate, but certainly that is in the back of our minds.”
Reportedly, local authorities have called in the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI to help them with their arson investigation into this morning’s fire at the Florida mosque of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.
[Image via John Panella/Shutterstock]