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Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando: what we know

AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning, and killed 49 people and wounded 53 in the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

During the shooting, Mateen called 911 to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIS. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, although it's still unclear how much involvement Mateen had with the group.

Mateen began shooting at 2 am, and his siege of the nightclub lasted for three hours until police were able to enter. What they found was horrifying: "The look in the eyes of our officers told the whole story," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Sunday morning.

What we know

The shooter:

  • The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old man born in New York who lived in Florida.
  • Mateen called 911 20 minutes into the attack to pledge his allegiance to ISIS, officials said at a press conference Sunday afternoon.
  • FBI Director James Comey said at a press conference Monday that Mateen named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, during the calls, but he also mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers and a Florida man who died as a suicide bomber in Syria for the Nusra Front, a group aligned with al-Qaeda.
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack Monday
  • Comey said Monday there is no evidence that Mateen's plot was directed from outside the USPresident Obama called Mateen "an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about."
  • Mateen had been under FBI surveillance. His name had been flagged in 2013, after he made inflammatory comments to his co-workers, officials said Sunday afternoon.
  • The FBI interviewed Mateen twice in 2013 and later found he had ties to a 2014 American suicide bomber, but closed both investigations, FBI spokesperson Ronald Hooper said Sunday.
  • Mateen's father, Seddique Mir Mateen, an immigrant from Afghanistan, apologized Sunday, and told reporters his family was "in shock like the whole country."
  • Mateen's father suggested Sunday his son was homophobic: he had become enraged after seeing two men kissing a few months ago. "This had nothing to do with religion," Mateen's father told NBC.
  • Mateen's ex-wife told the New York Times he was abusive during their brief marriage — they met in 2008 and separated in 2009 —and that he made anti-gay comments, but that he didn't seem to be a terrorist sympathizer at the time.
The shooting:
Javier Zarracina/Vox
  • Approximately 320 people were inside the nightclub when the incident began.
  • Mateen held hostages in the nightclub for roughly three hours before a police SWAT team entered the club, police chief John Mina said at a Sunday morning press conference.
  • Police shot and killed Mateen inside the club, according to Orlando police. An armed guard stationed at Pulse engaged in a gun battle with the gunman outside the club, before the gunman ran back into the club to continue shooting. More police officers and SWAT team members responded to take down the gunman.
  • Mateen was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, a handgun, and another "device" on him, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said: "It's appears he was organized and well-prepared." Mateen had purchased at least two firearms legally in the last week, Hooper said at the 2:30 pm press conference.
The victims:

What we don’t know

  • The final death toll.
  • The extent of Mateen's involvement and contact with ISIS.
  • The details of how Mateen planned the attack.

Watch: LGBTQ community reacts to shooting in Orlando

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