The death toll in Orlando has reached 50, making the rampage at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Fifty-three people were also seriously injured.
by Christina Coleman, NewsOne
The shooter has been identified as 29-year-old Omar S. Mateen, a U.S. citizen and Port St. Lucie, Florida resident who may have “leanings toward Islamic State militants,” Reuters reports.
He had a license to carry a firearm.
Asked if the FBI suspected the gunman might have had inclinations toward militant Islam, including a possible sympathy for Islamic State, Ronald Hopper, an assistant FBI agent in charge, told reporters: “We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology. But right now we can’t say definitively.”
The FBI said it was still trying to pin down whether the mass shooting was a hate crime against gays or a terrorist act.
According to the Huffington Post, the father of the suspected gunman says his son was not driven by religious ideology, but instead a gay kiss he witnessed between two men in Miami a few months ago.
In a statement to NBC News, Mir Seddique said his family was “in shock” after the shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning.
“We’re apologizing for the whole incident,” read Seddique’s statement. “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.”
He says his son got “very angry” when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago, and believes that was part of his son’s motive.
Authorities say Mateen, who was believed to be armed with a handgun and an assault-type weapon, acted alone.