Omar Mateen: Gunman dialed 911 during Orlando attack that killed 50
Omar Mateen: Gunman dialed 911 during Orlando attack that killed 50

Omar Mateen: Gunman dialed 911 during Orlando attack that killed 50

The FBI said investigators are following up on about 100 leads in the Orlando attack that killed 50 people, including the gunman, Omar Mateen. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The 29-year-old shooter opened fire around 2 a.m. ET at Pulse, a nightclub that’s described itself as Orlando’s hottest gay bar. He called 911 during his nearly three-hour standoff with the police, holding several hostages and pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

By the time Mateen was making his second 911 call, SWAT had arrived to the scene. During his third conversation with 911, Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, and referenced bomb vests and explosives.

However, Mateen’s decision to hold hostages forced Orlando police to treat the crisis as a hostage situation rather than an active shooter and began negotiating.

In active-shooter situations, police are now trained to respond immediately, even if only one or two officers are available to confront the suspect. In a hostage crisis, law enforcement generally tries to negotiate.

“We had a team of crisis negotiators that talked to the suspect, trying to get as much information as possible, what we could do to help resolve the situation. He wasn’t asking a whole lot and we were doing most of the asking,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday.

The man who targeted Orlando’s popular gay nightclub Pulse, is the second extremist to emerge from the Fort Pierce Islamic Center. Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, (alias was Abu Hurayra al-Amriki) attended the Fort Pierce mosque before going to Syria in 2014 to carry out a suicide bombing at the age of 22.

Despite this connection, Mateen was not under surveillance at the time of the shooting. FBI representative Ronald Hopper described the contact as minimal and did not constitute a threat at the time. Mateen was interviewed by the FBI twice, but they were inconclusive.

Details are still unfolding as to how Mateen planned the deadly attack. In addition to purchasing two firearms last week, CNN reported Monday morning that Mateen tried to buy military-grade body armor. The store, however, refused to sell it to him.

In a press conference on Monday, the FBI clarified the death toll by saying there are 49 victims in the Orlando nightclub shooting, not 50. The FBI is not including the shooter as a victim.


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