Mass Murder In Orlando [With Multiple Updates]

In a horrific crime that is being investigated as a terrorist attack, a 29-year-old man named Omar Mateen murdered 50 people and wounded more than 50 more at a gay night club in Orlando. Mateen is an American-born Muslim. So far, no radical Islamic associations have come to light [see update], but Mateen’s father says he became very angry several months ago when he saw two gay men kissing.

The murders were committed, apparently, over a three-hour period between 2 a.m and 5 a.m. Mateen took a number of hostages, and police surrounded the night club, which is called Pulse. Finally police broke into the night club with a vehicle and engaged in a shootout with Mateen, who was killed. I haven’t seen a report on whether Mateen shot all 100-plus victims at the beginning of the attack, or whether he was murdering hostages over the course of several hours.

Mateen’s parents are Afghan immigrants and are not U.S. citizens, but Omar is U.S.-born. Mateen apparently worked, or had worked, in security, and held a Florida security officer’s license. He also had a Florida concealed carry permit, so this is a rare instance of a firearms-related crime committed by a permit holder. Mateen reportedly was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol, and there are reports of some kind of explosive device, although it doesn’t appear that such a device was detonated. Mateen was a registered Democrat. There are a couple of photographs of Mateen wearing NYPD shirts, and he reportedly was a former resident of New York. (He was living in Florida currently.) I haven’t seen it reported whether Mateen was at one time a New York police officer.

There were several hundred people in the night club when the attack began. They could have overpowered Mateen, but understandably everyone’s instinct was to flee. As far as I have been able to tell, no one in the night club other than Mateen was armed. It hasn’t been reported whether the club was a gun-free zone.

UPDATE: A “senior law enforcement source” has told the Daily Beast that the FBI investigated Omar Mateen twice, in 2013 and again in 2014. On neither occasion did the FBI find enough to warrant further investigation. So Mateen evidently had radical Islamic connections of some kind. No doubt the details will emerge before long.

“He’s a known quantity,” the source said. “He’s been on the radar before.”

So this is apparently another case of “known wolf” Islamic terrorism.

The Orlando Sentinel has the basic news, and Jim Hoft has a good roundup of what we know about Omar Mateen.

MORE: Donald Trump has now weighed in on Twitter:

MORE: Homeland Security officials reportedly are saying that Mateen had some connection to ISIS, although it is not clear yet whether he was in contact by that group or was merely inspired by its call for terrorist attacks on America.

ONE MORE: Under Florida law, guns can’t be carried into bars. So Pulse was a gun-free zone. That is one legal change that should be made.

FINAL UPDATE: ATF says that Omar Mateen “legally purchased a handgun and a long gun within the last few days.” “‘He is not a prohibited person,’ [Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor] said.” They never are.