[guest post by Dana]
UPDATE x6 BY PATTERICO: So we know that the man was once investigated by the FBI, had contacts with an overseas terrorist, and that one co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, said he “talked about killing people all the time.” This report says: “Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages — 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.” I see no red flags there. Obviously, the solution (helpfully offered by one New Republic lefty) is to ban all guns.
UPDATE #5: President Obama held a press conference a little while ago regarding the massacre. (Of which, Jim Geraghty rightly notes the irony of the president’s comments: “A guy on an FBI watch list pledged loyalty to ISIS and killed 50 people, and the president says this illustrates the need for gun control.”)
The president’s comments, in part [emphasis added]:
Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder, a horrific massacre, of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city.
Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate, and as Americans we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people.
We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism, and I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days will will figure out how and why this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.
Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.
The president then went on to ask that Americans pray for the victims and their families “that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable, and that He give us all the strength and courage to change”.
UPDATE #4: NBC News spoke with the shooter’s father, who said this:
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. This had nothing to do with religion.
However, according to the report, the father claims that “his son got very angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago, and says he thinks this may have caused this”.
UPDATE #3: Here is the actual video of Imam Muhammad Musri at the news conference. Also, in his comments, he says that “as a nation, we need to look at this issue of mass shootings,” and that something should be done about them. IOW, more gun laws:
UPDATE #2: A leader from the Islamic Society made this statement to the press:
Imam Muhammad Musri, leader of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, called on the media not to politicize the night’s event.
“I’m here today to stand as a faith leader with our law enforcement community and city leadership,” Musri said, adding, “I want to caution many in the media from rushing to judgment.”
UPDATE: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer just released updated numbers:
50 killed & 53 injured in #Pulse nightclub shooting. Asking gov. to issue state of emergency.
Just horrible. Given that the investigation is still ongoing, details are likely to change.
From CBS News at this time:
A shooting and hostage situation early Sunday morning at a Florida nightclub — which describes itself as “Orlando’s hottest gay bar” — left multiple people dead, including the gunman, officials say.
Sources have confirmed to CBS News that authorities are investigating whether the suspect, who has been named as Omar Mateen, had ties to Islamic terrorism. Mateen is a U.S. citizen with no apparent criminal history, according to sources.
Orlando Police chief John Mina said “around 20” people are believed dead inside the nightclub, although he and others were hesitant to provide firm numbers as the situation was still being assessed early Sunday morning.
Local hospitals report receiving at least 42 patients from the incident.
A U.S. intelligence source told CBS news senior investigative producer Pat Milton that Islamic terrorism is being investigated as a possible motive in the shooting due to several indicators including the style of the attack, which had similarities to the attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March. The gunman put up a protracted gun battle with police and was heavily armed, the source said.
Robots are now analyzing a device the gunman had strapped to his body to determine if it was a real explosive device or a fake made to look like a real device, the source said.