He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and the Islamic State claimed responsibility. What could the motive possibly be? Will Obama amend his remarks and acknowledge that the motive is now perfectly clear? Don’t hold your breath.
“Terror in Orlando: 50 killed in shooting rampage at gay club; gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS,” by Hayley Tsukayama, Adam Goldman, Peter Holley and Mark Berman, Washington Post, June 12, 2016:
ORLANDO — The gunman who opened fire inside a crowded nightclub here early Sunday morning, launching a rampage that killed 50 people and injured 53 others in the deadliest shooting spree in the country’s history, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the attack, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.
President Obama said the FBI was investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism, an announcement he made about 12 hours after the gunfire began at Pulse, a popular gay bar and dance club.
“We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” Obama said during remarks at the White House. “And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”…
The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, apparently made a 911 call before the attack identifying himself and pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, according to U.S. law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified to discuss the ongoing investigation.
Mateen also made a reference to the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon during this call, officials said. Much like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers who carried out that attack, Mateen had been the focus of an FBI investigation. Officials said Mateen was investigated by the FBI in 2014, but what triggered the probe and its scope were not immediately clear. The probe was closed the same year.
In a message Sunday, the Islamic State appeared to take credit for the attack, but it remains unclear if the gunman had any connections to the group or if they had any prior knowledge.
Police had said earlier Sunday that 20 people were killed before saying that the toll was significantly higher. Until Sunday, the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech — which saw 32 people killed and 30 others injured — was the country’s worst mass shooting.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that the toll from this latest mass slaughter could have been even greater, saying that a SWAT team “rescued at least 30 possible victims and brought them to safety.” Police said they were not able to say if all of the people killed or injured were shot during the initial burst of gunfire at 2 a.m. or during the shootout with police three hours later….
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he was briefed Sunday and told that local law enforcement officials said the gunman had “declared his allegiance to ISIS.”
A U.S. official said that Department of Homeland Security reports being circulated to government authorities are “referring to local law enforcement reports saying the shooter pledged loyalty to ISIS and was heard praying in another language in the nightclub.”…
The group said in a message posted Sunday by the Islamic State-linked Amaq News Agency that the Orlando shooting “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.” The same news agency had released a message showing the Islamic State claiming some credit for the San Bernardino attack two days after that occurred, while Amaq posted a statement from the group asserting responsibility for the Brussels attacks in March within hours.
Ron Hopper of the FBI, the bureau leading the investigation, said Sunday they were still working to determine a motive. Hopper said officials had not found any indications of outside help, and added that they were confident there were no additional threats.
Also on Sunday, a man was detained in Santa Monica, Calif., by police while possessing weapons and dangerous material, police said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that they were investigating any possible link between this man and a Gay Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood on Sunday, though they added that there have been “no specific or credible threats” in the Los Angeles area.
Mateen’s ex-wife said that he was abusive, saying in an interview Sunday that he beat her repeatedly during their marriage. She said that during their brief marriage, Mateen, who was Muslim, was not very religious and gave no indications that he was devoted to radical Islam. (Mateen was from Fort Pierce, which is also where Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria, had lived in Florida.)
Mina said it appeared the gunman was armed with “a handgun and an AR-15-type assault rifle” and had additional rounds on him.
“It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” Mina said during another briefing….
Obama said it was too early to know “the precise motivations of the killer,” but he said the FBI would investigate any possible links the gunman had to terrorist groups….