Today’s post was meant to be a fun, and light-hearted recap detailing a recent stay-cation in honor of entering into the sixth year of marriage with my wife. But when I woke up a man I never have and never will meet, turned my nightmares into a reality. At 2:02 a.m. Omar Mateen opened fire at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing at least 50 and injuring at least 53 others. The attack developed into a hostage situation. Police were being contacted by people trapped inside the nightclub. At 2:09 a.m. Pulse Orlando posted to its Facebook page…”Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Law enforcement used explosive devices and an armored vehicle to blast through a wall, where a gun battle ensued with the suspect, ultimately killing him.
FBI had previously carried out two separate investigations of Mateen. They interviewed him twice in 2013 “when he made inflammatory comments to coworkers alleging possible terrorist ties” — but were “unable to verify the substance of his comments.” He was interviewed again in 2014 over possible ties to U.S. suicide bomber Moner Mohammad Abusalha — but they determined the contact was “minimal” and did not constitute a threat.
According to a search of public records, Mateen is listed as living in Florida’s St. Lucie County. The search shows that Mateen had a firearm license and he received a security officer license in both 2011 and 2013. The search did not turn up any criminal record.
Two federal officials briefed on the Orlando shooting tell NPR’s Carrie Johnson that Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call prior to the attack. They add that there is no current imminent threat to Orlando.
A release purportedly from ISIS’ media arm and circulating on social media stated that the attack was carried out by an Islamic State fighter — but the group presented no evidence to that effect and U.S. national security officials so far have not made any definitive connection.
This is the deadliest mass shooting in u.S. history.
In remarks today, President Obama said that “although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate. As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”
I just hope that one day we can be united in acceptance instead of tolerance and grief. For now I’ll just continue to write this blog and let the world peek into my life as I live it out and proud because #RepresentationMatters.
P.S. In an effort to report only facts, I used information report by NPR. Click here to read more.