Live Blog: One Day After Terror in Orlando
Follow the latest developments on the Orlando shooting here.
More details about the life of Omar Mateen are emerging Monday, and his ex-wife paints an ugly portrait of the man responsible for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history (updated 3:00 p.m. EST).
According to Sitora Yusufiy, his ex-wife, the Orlando shooter beat her and stole her paychecks. She told the New York Times that his last memory of him is grabbing her arm to stop her from leaving in 2009.
“He tried to reach in his back pocket, I don’t know if he had a gun with him, but my mother felt that and she screamed out,” Yusufiy told the Times. “That was the last time I saw him.”
Meanwhile, Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, told the Washington Post that his son visited him the day before the massacre, which left 49 people dead, and he showed no signs of what was to come Sunday morning.
“He was well behaved. His appearance was perfect,” he said. “I didn’t see any sign of worrying or being upset or nervous.”
But he apparently shares his son’s dislike of homosexuals. In a video posted on Facebook Monday, spoken in Dari, he says, per the Post’s translation, “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality. This is not for the servants” [of God].
2:09 p.m. EST. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday that was pre-scheduled, but the subject matter unanticipated: the terrorist attack in Orlando morning that has become the deadliest on U.S. soil since 9/11.
“We are heading into a general election that could be the most consequential of our lifetimes,” she said in the roughly half-hour speech. “But today is not a day for politics.”On Sunday morning, she said, many “woke up to nightmare that has become mind-numbingly familiar: another act of terrorism in a place no one expected.”
The former secretary of state again noted counterterrorism and national security strategies she has previously outlined — several times in the wake of other attacks, such as in Paris and San Bernardino. But much of her speech focused on enlisting the Muslim community rather than isolating it, resisting all forms of fear-based discrimination, and pushing for stricter gun control.
“If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked,” she said in the roughly half-hour speech.
“And yes if you’re too dangerous to get on a plane,” she continued, “you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America.”
Each served as an indirect rebuke of her inevitable general election opponent, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump. In the wake of the tragedy, he has sought to claim credit for “predicting” it, revived suggestions of his purported Muslim ban, called for the president to resign and for Clinton to drop out, and suggested if more of the nightclub’s patrons had had similar weapons the carnage could have been staunched.
But Clinton didn’t mention him by name.
Expect the upcoming speech from Trump on the same subject to be the polar opposite.
1:00 p.m. EST. FBI Director James Comey said Monday there were “strong indications of radicalization” of Omar Mateen, the 29-year old shooter who stormed the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Sunday, killing 49.
Comey added that the FBI’s investigation indicates Mateen received “inspiration” from foreign terrorist groups but that his actions were not directed from abroad. “We see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside of the United States and no indication that he was part of any network,” Comey said, adding that he appears to have been radicalized at least partially through the internet.
The FBI director admitted there was some “confusion” over Mateen’s motives. In a phone call made during the siege, the shooter pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. But he also expressed solidarity with the Boston Marathon bombers and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Comey noted that Abusalha fought on behalf of the Nusra Front, a group fighting against the Islamic State in the Syrian civil war.
Comey said the FBI launched a 10 month investigation into Mateen in 2013 after coworkers said he claimed family ties to al Qaeda and that he hoped law enforcement would raid his home and hurt his family so he could martyr himself. The inquiry was eventually closed.
Mateen reemerged on the FBI’s radar two months after the first case was closed, when the shooter was mentioned during a separate inquiry into Abusalha. He was cleared in that inquiry as well.
Comey said the FBI would review both investigations to determine if something was missed but said a preliminary review indicated that the bureau’s work had been by the book.
11:55 a.m. EST: Video of the moments before shots rang out has been posted to YouTube. Watch it below.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina on Monday morning offered new details on the confrontation between law enforcement and Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub this past weekend.
The first came when an off-duty officer heard shots inside the Pulse nightclub, which catered to gay clientele. Additional officers soon entered, shots were exchanged, and Mateen retreated to a bathroom, where negotiators began talks with the shooter. The exchanges between law enforcement and Mateen took place over several hours.
“He really wasn’t asking for a whole lot, we were doing most of the asking,” Mina said.
“Our negotiators were talking with him,” he said. “And there were no shots at that time but there was talk about bomb vests and explosives. There was an allegiance to the Islamic State.”
Then, police used an armored vehicle to breach a wall, allowing hostages taken by Mateen to flee. The shooter also came through the wall and was killed by police.
Photo credit: LAURA BUCKMAN/Getty Images