By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Yesterday, I wrote at length on the Orlando massacre here and here. Despite Obama, Clinton and Sanders seizing on the gun issue, this was an act of war by ISIS. It was radical Islam at play. It cost us scores of lives and is the deadliest attack since 9/11.
Terror has struck in Orlando, Florida at the city’s trendiest gay party spot, the Pulse nightclub. A shooter with Islamic leanings came into the club just as they were closing at 2 a.m. We are now in the month of Ramadan. He had a suicide vest, a rifle and a handgun. Hostages were taken and at least 50 were slaughtered. Approximately 53 others were injured. One officer was shot and his Kevlar helmet saved him. The shooter was killed by police. This is being called a mass casualty situation and it is now labeled domestic terrorism. According to WESH-TV, the casualties were so numerous that many of the injured had to be transported to the hospital in unmarked pick-up trucks instead of ambulances. A bomb squad and a crisis negotiator were called to the scene, the station reported. A mother outside said her son had texted her: “He’s rounded us up and he’s going to kill us.”
We now know the shooter was a warrior for ISIS and the Caliphate. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said officers were called to Pulse Orlando, a popular gay nightclub, at around 2 a.m. after reports of a shooting. He said officers were engaged in a gun battle outside the club before the suspect went back into the building where more shots were fired. It was reported that the gunman then took several hostages. About three hours later, Mina said officials made the decision to rescue the hostages in the club. They blew a hole in a wall to rescue approximately 30 of the 100 hostages taken. He said SWAT officers exchanged fire with the gunman and killed him. Pulse Orlando posted on its own Facebook page around 2 a.m.: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” Just before 6 a.m., the club posted an update: “As soon as we have any information we will update everyone. Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and love.” Mina Justice was outside the club early Sunday trying to contact her 30 year-old son Eddie, who texted her when the shooting happened and asked her to call the police. He told her he ran into a bathroom with other club patrons to hide. He then texted her: “He’s coming.” The next text said: “He has us, and he’s in here with us,” she said. That was the last conversation. What a horrific tragedy.
We now know that the shooter was Omar Mir Seddique Mateen who is from Port St. Lucie, Florida. He is of Afghani descent and authorities are saying he has ties to radical Islam. We also know he yelled Allah-hu-Akbar as he mowed people down. He pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call while the event was taking place.
Omar Mir Seddique Mateen has been named as the gunman who killed 50 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, CBS News reports.
He was later killed by police after taking hostages at the LGBT club.
Mateen, 29, is a U.S. citizen of Afghani descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida, according to CBS News. He has ties to radical Islamic ideology, CBS reports. His name was confirmed by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson at a press conference.
1. Who is the shooter?: Omar Mir Seddique Mateen is a 29 year-old man from Port St. Lucie, Florida. He is an Afghani American and was on a person of interest list connected to terrorism. Police have not yet said why Mateen attacked the nightclub. His father told MSNBC that the shooting was not about his son’s religion, but that his son became very angry after seeing two men kissing in Miami months ago. He said “we are apologizing for the whole incident.” Mateen drove to Orlando to commit the terrorist attack. He had no criminal history. The gunman who killed at least 50 people at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday was a licensed security officer who claimed more than once that he had connections to Islamic terror groups. He had extensive weapons training.
2. How many were killed and injured?: At least 50 are now dead and approximately 53 are injured. Many critically, so the death toll is thought to rise. This is the worst death toll from terrorism on American soil since 9/11. There were 320 people in the club at the time of the shooting.
3. When and where did this happen?: The attack began around 2 a.m. in Orlando. Mateen exchanged gunfire with police before going into the Pulse nightclub to take hostages. He held approximately 100 hostages for several hours before killing en masse within the club. “The officer engaged in a gun battle with that suspect. The suspect at some point went back inside the club and more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference. They now believe there was a bomb that he did not get a chance to detonate. He had a rifle and a handgun as well.
4. How was the attacker killed?: The gunman was killed by SWAT during the hostage crisis. They were attempting to rescue the hostages, who were being executed. This happened around 5 a.m. An officer was wounded during the shootout, but was saved by his Kevlar helmet. More than 30 hostages were rescued from the club. At the time, it was believed only 20 had died in the horrific killing spree.
5. Ties to radical Islam: Local FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Ron Hopper said at the press conference that there are “suggestions” the gunman “may have leanings” toward Jihadist ideology. Hopper had been asked about whether the shooter was connected to radical Islamic terrorism. Hopper said they can’t say definitively whether the gunmen is connected to that ideology. He said we’re looking into all angles right now.” ISIS has posted messages on Twitter cheering the killing spree. Indonesian Islamic radicals also praised the slaughter. Per Fox News, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is now saying they have information that the attack is connected to ISIS.
6. Was this pre-planned?: The attack was well-organized and planned for. Police are now searching his home and trying to determine if there were others involved in this. We are now in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and ISIS has commanded their followers to kill Americans everywhere they can. In an Arabic message released online, purportedly from ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, further attacks were urged against the West during Ramadan.
Three days ago, ISIS Muslim terrorists released a statement on their plan to attack Florida and even put out a list with the names of people in Florida that they plan on killing.
7. What is the shooter’s background?: Both of Mateen’s parents are originally from Afghanistan. He was born in New York and was 29 years-old. He was married in 2009, public records show. It is not clear if he was still married at the time of the attack, but he does have a little girl. Mateen is a registered Democrat who has also lived in Fort Pierce, Florida.
And there’s more… Mateen worked for a security company that visited federal buildings and transported illegal aliens. He also worked as security at a juvenile facility. He was interviewed by the FBI three separate times. His co-workers warned that he claimed he had terrorist ties. He was unstable and beat his wife. And the list goes on and on.
Omar Mateen’s father was an activist for the Taliban. Note the radio network that gave him airtime, Payem e Afghan, a radio show in California called Durand Jirga. So, when the father claims this had nothing to do with religion, that was an outright lie. The same lie that came from ISNA and CAIR yesterday on Fox News.
ISIS was quick to take credit for the atrocity. We are at war and we had better start acting like it. If we don’t stop blaming guns and Christians and anything BUT Islamists for this, we are going to lose thousands, if not millions, of Americans to these monsters. We need real, concrete solutions and a leader who is willing to fight our enemies without apology and aggressively. War has come to America… will we fight or stay on our knees?