Tuesday, June 14, 2016

TWH, FBI: Killer Termed 'Homegrown Extremist'

Downtown Orlando Vigil Monday Evening
The FBI and the White House said Monday (June 13th) that Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday morning before dying in a gun battle with police, appears to have been a "homegrown extremist."

FBI Director James Comey said of the 29-year-old, American-born Mateen, "So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network."

However, he said that Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS in a 911 call during the attack, was clearly radicalized, at least in part through the internet. It was also revealed that Mateen had expressed support in the call for the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon attack, as well as a suicide bomber from a Syrian rebel group that's an ISIS enemy.

President Obama, who's will be going to Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects to the victims and stand with the community, said there's no clear evidence so far that Mateen was directed by ISIS, calling the attack  "homegrown extremism." ISIS radio called Mateen "one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America," but gave no indication the group planned or knew of the attack ahead of time.

Reports Mateen was Pulse Customer, On Gay Dating Apps

Seddique Mateen
More conflicting information emerged about Mateen's possible motives, when several news organizations cited regular customers at Pulse nightclub, where the attack took place, as saying they had seen him there several times.

One person, Ty Smith, said, "Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent."

Smith also told The Canadian Press that Mateen said he couldn't drink when he was home because of his wife and family and that his father Seddique Mateen, was strict. Chris Callen, who performs at Pulse, told The Canadian Press and CNN that Mateen had been going to the bar one or twice a month for at least three years.

Both Smith and Callen said they stopped talking to him when he pulled a knife on them after they made a religious comment. Others also reported interacting with Mateen on gay dating apps, and a former classmate told The Palm Beach Post he believed Mateen was gay, and that Mateen once asked him out romantically.

Past FBI Probes of Mateen, Employer Denies Complaints

FBI Director Comey
The FBI first investigated Mateen, who worked as a private security guard, in 2013 when co-workers reported that he claimed to have family connections to al-Qaida and to be a member of Hezbollah.

Comey said yesterday that Mateen had also been quoted as saying he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so that he could martyr himself. A 10-month preliminary investigation was carried out, which included questioning Mateen, following him and looking at his communications.

Mateen claimed he made the remarks in anger because co-workers were teasing him and discriminating against him for being Muslim, and the FBI eventually closed the case.

There was an investigation in 2014 because of his connection to the Nusra Front bomber, but the FBI found they attended the same mosque and knew each other casually, but there were no ties of any consequence.

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