A mass shooting happened over the weekend in Orlando leaving 50 dead and 53 injured. The perpetrator of the attack—identified as Omar Mateen, 29—opened fire at the nightclub Pulse, and took hostages before he was gunned down by members of a SWAT team three hours after entering the establishment.
The massacre occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and took place in the early hours of Sunday, June 12. It has been classified as a terrorist attack by the authorities. The shooting took place during Pride Month, a nationally recognized celebration of LGBT history and culture, as well as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots, which are seen as the watershed moment of the LGBT Civil Rights movement.
As NBC reported:
The massacre — which is now the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States — began when the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m., with an AR-15 type rifle and a handgun, officials said.
Several different sources have reported that Mateen had pledged his allegiance to the jihadist militant group ISIS (also known as ISIL) during a phone call he made to authorities prior to the shooting, as per NBC News.
“What I’ve heard from the Department of Homeland Security this morning is that, according to local police, he made a pledge of allegiance to ISIL,” said congressman Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, during an interview with CNN.
Despite many of the facts of the case and Mateen’s own ties to the extremist ideologies, his father is claiming that his son was not motivated by religion.
His father, Mir Seddique, told reporters that the attack was possibly incited by an incident that occurred two months ago, wherein Mateen became enraged after seeing two men kissing in Miami.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country,” Seddique added.
Florida representative Alan Grayson also stated that the massacre was “more likely than not ideologically motivated. It’s no coincidence that the attack took place where it did and when it did,” he said. “It might be that we’ve seen the commission of an awful hate crime.”