An American-born man who’d pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 50 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11, authorities said.
The gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat, the FBI said.
Mateen called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, according to a U.S. official.
Orlando police shot and killed Mateen.
Mateen carried an assault rifle and a pistol into the packed Pulse club about 2 a.m. Sunday and started shooting, killing 50 people and wounding at least 53, police said.
After a standoff of about three hours, while people trapped inside the club desperately called and messaged friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.
“It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said early Sunday. Authorities said they haven’t found any accomplices.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack on jihadi forums, but ISIS sympathizers have reacted by praising the attack on pro-Islamic State forums.
“We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate,” President Obama said in an address to the nation from the White House.
While the violence could have hit any American community, “This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” he said.
A message posted in Arabic on a dark web site associated with the ISIS news agency Amaq said “the armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida and that bore more than a 100 killed and wounded was carried out by an Islamic state fighter.” CNN