A mass shooting in Florida has claimed 50 people and injured another 53, reported PBS. The shooting, which has been claimed by President Obama as one of the worst in American history, took place inside Pulse nightclub, an iconic gathering spot for the LGBT community.
“Though details are still emerging, an attack during Pride Month against Pulse, an iconic gathering place for LGBT Floridians, has a particularly insidious impact on our entire community,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy,” said the director of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, Roddy Flynn.
The shooting started to occur, reportedly around 2.09am Sunday morning. The shooter, a single 29-year-old man who has been identified by authorities as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, had travelled from his home in Port Saint Lucie, approximately 120 miles south of his target in Orlando, to carry out his attack.
According to Reuters, the Islamic State have claimed responsibility of the massacre, also on Sunday, via their own news agency. However, officials have been quick to point out that there is no substantial evidence of the link.
Reuters reported the Amaq (the Islamic State’s media) statement as saying:
“The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
The link between ISIS and the shooting will become a point of contention in coming days. Already, it has been uncovered that the FBI did once investigate Omar Mateen — who was killed by the SWAT team during the attacks on Pulse — in 2013, regarding his radical Islam propaganda that he commented about to coworkers.
According to NBC who broke down these key facts admist downplay by officials; the following year, the FBI examined his profile again when links appeared between Omar Mateen and “an American who traveled to the Middle East to become a suicide bomber.”
It has also been reported to the NBC that the shooter had also “sworn allegiance” to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS in a 911 phone call moments before that shooting.
His father and family however, have come out with a statement saying their son was unlikely involved with ISIS.
“We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry,” Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen, told NBC News on Sunday. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”
Adding further: “This had nothing to do with religion.”
However, it isn’t a secret that the Islamic State are notorious about their hate against anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their radical beliefs, particularly those of the LGBT communities.