UPDATE 2: LA Times reports authorities have arrested a man in West Hollywood after discovering assault rifles, ammunition and possible explosives in his car. The man was reportedly in town for Pride in a car with Indiana plates. The investigation has been handed over to the FBI. At the time there is no confirmation of a connection to the Orlando shooting.
The Orlando shooter called 911 pledging allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston bombers, a U.S. official tells CNN.
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“The FBI investigated Omar Mateen in the past for possibly having ties to or being sympathetic with Islamic extremism, a law enforcement official and a U.S. official told CNN’s Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz.
Two cases were opened on Mateen, the law enforcement official said, while the U.S. official told CNN that Mateen was not the primary subject of at least one of those probes. Neither investigation produced enough evidence to charge Mateen.
In the past two weeks, Mateen legally purchased from a St. Lucie County gun store a Glock pistol found at the shooting scene, the law enforcement official said. Because he worked as a security guard, he was allowed to have a firearms license, meaning minimal background checks when he purchased guns.
Mateen’s family says the suspect also expressed anti-LGBT sentiments in the past.”
Last night nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida came under assault by a gunman wielding an AR-15, handgun, and other devices according to Orlando Police Chief John Mina. Pulse is one of Orlando’s most popular gay clubs with a capacity of about 300 people.
The gunman who was later identified as 29-year-old security guard Omar Mateen of Ft. Pierce, Florida killed 50 people and injured another 53 before police could take him down in a shootout. One officer was injured during a shootout with the gunman.
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At this point in time, there seems to be no link to any outside groups rendering this devastating attack the act of a lone shooter with potentially an anti-LBGT agenda or a hate crime. The investigation by the FBI and Orlando authorities are still ongoing, but as of now Orlando authorities consider the violence to have been an act of domestic terror. The shooter was allegedly previously investigated by the FBI and they “have suggestions the individual has leanings towards (Islamic terrorism), but right now we can’t say definitely.”
A victim described the scene. “There was blood, blood everywhere.”
The mayor of Orlando has temporarily declared itself under a state of emergency with the state of Florida potentially set to do the same as well.
President Obama is set to address the nation at 1:30 PM EST.
Sources: CNN | Time