Sunday, June 12

All but officially confirmed Orlando Massacre was Islamic State-inspired attack UPDATED 2:13, 2:30, 2:40, 3:15, 4:04, 4:13 PM EDT

The Washington Post's great, fast work at investigating the shooter's father, who lives in the USA; he's an Afghan Taliban supporter and has a nonprofit registered in the USA. The Wapo report was published at 2:53 PM EDT. 

Adds 2 paragraphs from ABC report re details of U.S. investigation of the shooter.  See 2:40 update.  

ISIS claims responsibility for Orlando mass shooting – affiliated agency
Published time: 12 Jun, 2016 18:30 Edited time: 12 Jun, 2016 18:44


If the shooter was on the US radar for "some time" how did he get/keep a gun license and a job as a security official? (see Fox report in 2:13 PM EDT)

From ABC News [emphasis mine]
In the midst of the attack, Mateen called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, according to two law enforcement officials.
Terrorism observers told ABC News that while ISIS supporters have cheered the massacre online, so far there has been no claim of responsibility from any terrorist organization and no evidence of inside knowledge of the plot. 
During Mateen's 911 call, he also made reference to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, officials said.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Mateen was "on the radar" of U.S. security officials for some time but was not the target of a specific investigation. 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper said today that the FBI had taken an interest in Mateen twice -- once in 2013 after he made "inflammatory" comments to co-workers and then again the next year after he was linked to another U.S. radical who became a suicide bomber in Syria. Mateen was interviewed by investigators three times in relation to the probes but, in both cases, Hopper said the FBI determined Mateen was not a threat and closed the investigations.
He was not under investigation or surveillance at the time of the shooting, Hopper said.
Video of Obama's 5 minute statement on Orlando Massacre. Yes of course he tried to turn this into a 'teachable moment.'  

From The Dallas Morning News
The attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism. The shooter had previously been investigated by the FBI for comments he made about radical Islamic propaganda, NBC News reported.

Officials said that in a call to police before the club attack, the gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS and mentioned the Boston bombers, NBC and CNN reported.
Obama's presser has "just concluded" according to White House site.
UPDATE 2:13 PM EDT - Fox Report

> Seb Gorka on Fox just now. His message to Obama, stop with the political correctness, this is war on America. Here is link to Fox video of interview. Seb was interivewed Friday night on the John Batchelor Show about terrorism. Here's the podcast
> From the Fox audio report accompanying the below report, it looks as if there will be many questions about how the police handled the attack. According to the audio report about 20 of the club patrons were shot and several taken hostage after the gunman ran back into the building after a shootout with police outside the club.  Of course this report is a still part of the 'fog of war' phase.
> Obama will be giving a presser at 1:30 PM EDT today
> Dead shooter worked as a licensed security official with license to carry a gun (see Fox report below)
> Death toll now at 50 will probably rise because several among the 53 wounded are in critical condition (Fox)
> No additional information on a possible second shooter; see my earlier report for a quote from an eyewitness who said he saw a second shooter.  

Fox News
June 12 - no timestamp on report


House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement that the timing, location and information coming from local authorities indicated "an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism."
"The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIS leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT night club during Pride, and – if accurate – that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS, indicates an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism," Schiff said. "Whether this attack was also ISIS-directed, remains to be determined. I’m confident that we will know much more in the coming hours and days."
Schiff said earlier on CNN that local police in Orlando told him that Mateen "was heard praying in a foreign language" at some point.
The gunman was identified as Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, Rep. Alan Grayson said during a Sunday morning press conference. Mateen was a U.S. citizen, Grayson said, though that was "not true of other family members of his." Mateen, 29, lived in Fort Pierce, Fla. He was born in New York to parents of Afghan origin and was a Muslim, Fox News confirmed. Mateen was married in 2009 to a woman who was born in Uzbekistan.
A licensed security officer, Mateen also had a Statewide Firearms License, Fox News reported.
Authorities were going through Mateen's belongings on Sunday morning trying to identify a motive for the attack, Grayson said.
"More likely than not, that it was an ideologically motivated attack," Grayson said, though he said it was unclear if Mateen was linked to any terror groups.
"It's not coincidence the attack took place where it did and when it did," Grayson said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper said the investigation was looking into possible threats made previously by the suspect in connection to radical Islam groups.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Orange County following the attack.
Orlando Regional Medical Center called in six trauma surgeons, including a pediatric surgeon, as victims poured in, Dr. Michael Cheatham said. Many of the wounded were "critically ill" due to their injuries, Cheatham said, and the hospital was trying to reach out to their families.
"I think we will see the death toll rise," Cheatham told The Associated Press.
The shooting in Orlando at Pulse, which bills itself as "the hottest gay bar" in the city and was packed with more than 300 people for "Latin Night," was reported minutes after 2 a.m. Sunday. In addition to those killed inside the club, at least 53 people were taken to area hospitals. Dozens of partygoers remained hostages in the club for several hours after the initial shooting, prompting SWAT teams to rush inside. Shortly after 6 a.m. local time, Orlando police tweeted that the gunman had been killed.
Authorities said there was not believed to be any further threat to the area.
"This is an attack on our people," Scott tweeted around 11:40 a.m. "It's an attack on Orlando. It's an attack on FL. It's an attack on America. It's an attack on all of us."
Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said officers were initially engaged in a gun battle outside the club before the suspect, armed with a handgun and "assault-type rifle," went back into the building, where more shots were fired. He said the gunman then took several hostages.
"It appears he was organized and well-prepared," Mina said.
Officials said Mateen had some communication with police during this standoff, though they did not reveal what was said.
At least 9 officers were involved in raiding the nightclub, and one officer was injured, according to Banks. The injured officer was hit by a bullet and his Kevlar helmet saved his life, Banks said.

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