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What lies ahead in the investigation into the Orlando shooting

Investigators will round up the shooter's computers and phones.

Joe Skipper / Getty

Fifty people are dead and another 53 people are injured after a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in what now ranks as the deadliest attack on American soil since 9/11.

The suspect has been identified as a 29-year-old American-born man of Afghan descent named Omar Saddiqui Mateen. He was killed in a shootout with an Orlando police SWAT team early this morning that apparently saved 30 hostages. You can read more on the facts of the case so far here.

With the shooter dead, the investigation into the incident will focus on establishing his motive for the attack, and the degree to which he may have been influenced by radical views.

A key step will be rounding up computers, phones and other devices he used, and analyzing any statements he might have made on social media or in web forums.

When investigating the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last year, FBI agents found that one of the shooters had posted and then deleted a message of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS. Given this shooter’s heritage, the FBI will be looking for similar signs.

Depending on what devices are recovered during the investigation, we may see a replay of last year’s legal confrontation between the U.S. Department of Justice and the tech industry over encryption.

Recall that one of the shooters in San Bernardino used an iPhone 5s. In an effort to tie up all the threads in their investigation, the FBI took Apple to court, hoping to force the tech giant to open up the phone. Apple refused. The government dropped its case after it got help elsewhere.

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