THE LATEST: Omar Mateen Called 911 from Gay Night Club–Pledged Allegiance to this Terror Group

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.31.50 PMThis is the most deadly attack on US soil since 9/11… and it was done by another terror group. However, this time, the man was a ‘US’ citizen with Middle Eastern heritage. Get all the latest updates here on the story.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The Latest on the shooting at an Orlando nightclub (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

LaToya Hall says her cousin Keon Carter was in the Pulse club early Sunday when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others.

Hall says her cousin is alert at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She says he tried to hold her hand and turn his eyes to look at her.

Hall says many people are having trouble locating victims because they are being listed under fake names.

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5:20 p.m.

American Muslim leaders are condemning the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded more than 50 others.

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the killings a hate crime and said the group has no tolerance for extremism of any kind.

Awad says members of the LGBT community have stood with Muslims in the past and today they stand that community.

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TNT has postponed the season premiere of “The Last Ship” in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.

The show, which stars Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra and Adam Baldwin, is about a group of people who’ve survived a pandemic that killed 80 percent of the world’s population.

The network says in a statement that its hearts are with the victims and their families.

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4:50 p.m.

About 100 people gathered in Paris for a spontaneous vigil at Place Igor Stravinsky to remember those slain and wounded at an Orlando nightclub.

Several people were draped in rainbow flags. They lit candles and took pictures as a person in head-to-toe fetish gear held up a sign saying “Proud.” One woman carried a poster showing a ribbon with a rainbow on one side and an American flag on the other.

“To Orlando, we have love,” it read.

Remi Perrenoud, 30, said the news hit him particularly hard because, like the victims, he had been out partying at a gay club Saturday night.

Ian Brossat, the capital’s deputy mayor for housing, was at the vigil too. He says it seems important to mobilize to voice solidarity and to underline the fight against homophobia.

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says at first officers mistakenly thought the gunman had strapped explosives to the dead victims and that the club was boob-trapped. A bomb robot sent back images of a battery part next to a body.

Dyer says that held up paramedics from going in until it was determined it was something that fell out of an exit sign or a smoke detector.

The robot was sent in after SWAT team members put explosive charges on a wall and an armored vehicle knocked the wall down in an effort to rescue hostages.

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4:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the gunman who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub made a 911 call from the club, professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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4:20 p.m.

A former Afghan official says the father of the Orlando nightclub gunman is a native of Afghanistan who appears on a television program known for “its anti-US tirades” and “pro-Taliban” remarks.

The official says the gunman’s father is Seddique Mateen and that the program is broadcast in the Dari language. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.

The official said Seddique Mateen’s “Durand Jirga Show” is anti-Pakistan. The name of the show references the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Seddique Mateen campaigned in the United States for current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who appeared on his program in 2014. The program’s studio has an address in Fort Pierce, Florida.

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Afghanistan’s president says he “strongly condemns” the attack on a Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement Sunday that “targeting civilians is not justifiable under any circumstances whatsoever.” He offered his condolences to President Barack Obama, the American people and the families of the victims.

Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also offered his condolences.

4:05 p.m.

The FBI says agents twice investigated the man who killed 50 people inside a gay nightclub, but closed those cases after interviewing him.

FBI agent Ronald Hopper said Sunday that Omar Mateen had been interviewed in 2013 and 2014. Hopper said agents first investigated Mateen after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists.

Mateen was interviewed twice and, when investigators were unable to verify the details of his comments, the FBI closed the probe.

In 2014, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Like Mateen, Abusalha lived in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Hopper says agents determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time.

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4:05 p.m.

Organizers of Denver’s PrideFest, which holds a parade and rally that has attracted hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in past years, is going ahead with their festival next weekend amid heavy security following the shooting deaths of at least 50 people inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday.

Organizer Debra Pollock says parade and rally participants in Denver have always been security-conscious, but members of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado have also received training on how to deal with active-shooter situations.

Pollock says the organizers will have metal detectors and fences set up at Civic Center Park for the rally, and there will also be security on the parade route and people will be searched as in past years.

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3:45 p.m.

The city of Orlando is publishing the names of those killed in a massacre at a gay nightclub on its website after their families have been contacted.

As of 3:45 p.m. Sunday, the list had four names. Fifty people were killed.

Shooter Omar Mateen was killed; his name is not on the list.

Fifty-three more were hospitalized.

The city’s website includes the #PrayforOrlando hashtag and says officials are “working tirelessly” to get information to families.

The list can be found at http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/

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3:25 p.m.

The ex-wife of the man authorities say killed 50 people at an Orlando nightclub says he beat her repeatedly while they were married.

The ex-wife told The Washington Post that she met Omar Mateen online about eight years ago and decided to move to Florida and marry him. The ex-wife, who wasn’t named in the report, says at first the marriage was normal, but then he became abusive.

They were together for only a few months and her parents intervened when they learned Mateen had assaulted her. She says he wasn’t very religious and gave no signs of radical Islam. She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents.

Mateen’s ex-wife said his family was from Afghanistan, but her ex-husband was born in New York. His family later moved to Florida.

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3:20 p.m.

Ronald Hopper of the FBI says shooter Omar Mateen was 29 and an American citizen. He was not under surveillance at the time of the shooting.

The ATF says Mateen purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so.

Hooper says some 911 calls involving the shooter and the massacre have become federal evidence. He says the conversations involved the Islamic State.

Hooper says the shooter in 2013 made inflammatory comments to co-workers, and that Mateen was interviewed twice. Hooper calls those interviews inconclusive.

In 2014, Hooper says, officials found that Mateen had ties to the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria. Hooper describes the contact as minimal; it did not constitute a threat at that time.

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3:15 p.m.

Police say a total of 14 law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter at a gay Florida nightclub.

They say 11 Orlando police officers and three deputy sheriffs actively engaged, and fired their weapons. They’re relieved of duties pending an investigation. That’s typical procedure in such cases.

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3:15 p.m.

The suspected Orlando night club shooter Omar Mateen was a security guard with G4S. In a 2012 newsletter, the firm identified him as working in West Palm Beach.

In a statement sent to the Palm Beach Post, the security company confirmed his employment.

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Orlando nightclub. We can confirm that Omar Mateen had been employed with G4S since September 10, 2007. We are cooperating fully with all law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, as they conduct their investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy.”

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3 p.m.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the man who killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando called 911 shortly before the attack and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The media outlets cited unnamed law enforcement officials in their reports.

Danny Banks is an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He says authorities are investigating whether the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history was an act of domestic or international terrorism, and if the shooter acted alone.

The suspect in the Orlando attack was identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. The gunman’s father recalled to NBC News that his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami and said that might be related to the assault.

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2:55 p.m.

People who were inside the gay Florida nightclub where 50 people were killed are describing a scene of mass chaos.

Orlando resident Brand White was shot. He says, “We are dancing and all of a sudden it just started like a rolling thunder, loud and everything went black.”

The 30-year-old was with his cousin, who mentioned something about “a guy with a bomb.” After that, White says, his memory is fuzzy; he said he doesn’t recall leaving the club or who took him to the hospital.

White was shot in the shoulder. He spoke to The AP as he was being monitored at a hospital. He said he received a blood transfusion.

His cousin was unaccounted for – no one had heard from him as of 2:45 p.m.

Another man, Brett Rigas, says he and his partner were dancing when they heard shots. Rigas was shot in the arm and hid behind a bar. About five minutes later, authorities came in and told everyone to put their hands up and run out.

Rigas said he saw bodies as he ran out.

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2:45 p.m.

The suspected Orlando nightclub gunman had been licensed as a private security officer in Florida.

State records show suspected shooter Omar Mateen held the firearms license since at least 2011. It was set to expire in September 2017.

It wasn’t immediately clear where, if anywhere, Mateen had worked as a security officer. An armed guard license in Florida requires 28 hours of classroom training by a licensed instructor.

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2:35 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is cutting short a visit to Beijing for cybersecurity meetings with Chinese officials and returning to the United States to monitor developments in the nightclub shooting investigation.

Lynch says the Justice Department, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is supporting the investigation.

She says in a statement that she’s gotten updates from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey.

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2:35 p.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the United States after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.

Netanyahu said Sunday that “on behalf of the people and government of Israel, I extend our deepest condolences to the American people following last night’s horrific attack on the LGBT community in Orlando.”

He wished “heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims” and “full and speedy recovery to the wounded.”

The Orlando attack dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. On Wednesday two Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded five others in Tel Aviv.

LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.

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2:25 p.m.

Police departments across the country are increasing patrols near locations frequented by the LGBT community after a gunman killed 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

In Los Angeles, the mayor says a heavily armed person who was headed to a gay pride parade had been arrested by Santa Monica police. Mayor Eric Garcetti says the arrest was completely unrelated to the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Officer Ernesto Rodriguez of Miami Beach Police Department says the agency is saddened by the massacre and out of an abundance of caution will step up patrols. Boston Pride organizers plan to hold a moment of silence at this weekend’s scheduled block parties to honor the Orlando victims and police there said there will be a heavier presence at those events.

The Baltimore Police Department says it is reaching out to the city’s LBGT community to discuss concerns and safety after the Orlando massacre.

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2:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the worst mass shooting in U.S. history is a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a weapon that allows them to shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, a movie theater or a gay nightclub.

Speaking from the White House, Obama says the United States has to decide if that is the “country we want to be.” He says that doing nothing is a decision as well.

The shooting has thrust the topic of gun control back into focus as a presidential election nears.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has called for expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and online purchases, and for reinstating a ban on assault weapons. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said the existing background check system should be fixed, not expanded, and that assault-weapons bans do not work.

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2:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings until sunset Thursday “as a mark of respect for victims of the act of hatred and terror” at a gay Florida nightclub.

He’s also directing the same observance at embassies and other U.S. government facilities abroad.

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2:15 p.m.

Donald Trump isn’t pausing his political commentary for the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolding in Florida.

It was unclear whether the shooter was associated with a radical religious organization.

Trump tweeted as Obama began speaking: “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

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2:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the nightclub shooting in Orlando was an “act of terror” and an “act of hate.”

He said Sunday that the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism and that no effort will be spared to determine whether the shooter was affiliated with terrorist groups.

Obama is noting that the killer targeted a gay nightclub. He says it’s a “sobering reminder” that an attack on any American is an attack “on all of us.”

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2 p.m.

A bartender who was working at the Orlando nightclub when a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people and wounded about 50 others says at first she thought the gunshots were music.

But after a second shot there was a pause, and then more shots and Tiffany Johnson realized something was wrong.

Johnson says people dropped to the ground and started running out of the Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning. She ran to a fast-food restaurant across the street and met one of her customers who let her get in his car and they drove away.

Johnson says her first instinct was to get somewhere safe.

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2 p.m.

Sunday evening’s Tony Awards have been dedicated to those affected by the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed at least 50 people.

In a statement Sunday, the Tony Awards said “our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy.” The awards, it said, will be dedicated to the friends and family of those affected by the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.

Organizers didn’t say how the evening’s broadcast would be affected. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of “Hamilton” – expected to be the night’s big winner – tweeted a rainbow-colored heart with “Orlando” written beneath it.

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1:40 p.m.

The Vatican says Pope Francis is expressing the “deepest feelings of horror and condemnation” over a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub that killed at least 50 people.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says the pontiff denounces the “homicidal folly and senseless hatred.”

He added that Francis joins the families of victims and injured in the Sunday massacre in “prayer and compassion.”

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1:35 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the shooter in the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub was known to the FBI before the incident and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.

The shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen of Florida. The official says the matter for which Mateen came under investigation was “open and closed pretty quickly.”

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1:20 p.m.

Hundreds of people in Orlando have lined up to give blood to help the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub.

Officials at OneBlood say they have received such an overwhelming response that they are now asking donors to come back over the next several days. More than 50 people were injured and 50 were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning.

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12:45 p.m.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says law enforcement officials and the intelligence community are checking to see what information they had on the shooter prior to the massacre at a gay Florida nightclub.

Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “painfully reminiscent” of the November shootings at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris.

He says in a statement, “This morning, I will be marching in the West Hollywood Pride Parade with a heavy heart, but we will march in solidarity with all those who are the victims of terrorism and hatred.”

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12:30 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub “heartwrenching” and says first responders who went into the building knowing there was an active shooter are heroic.

Scott urged people to donate blood. He says officials are doing everything they can.

He says: “This is clearly an act of terrorism. It’s sickening. It should make every American angry.”

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12:25 p.m.

Law enforcement officials are beefing up security for a LGBT pride festival in Washington, D.C., after a deadly shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

DC Police tweeted that festivalgoers should expect extra police presence Sunday.

Bowser said Washingtonians “will not be deterred by hate as we gather to celebrate love.”

Festival organizers said that there will be moment of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting at 1 p.m.

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Noon

A SWAT truck and a bomb disposal unit are on the scene of an address associated with the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

 

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11:45 a.m.

The father of the man named as the shooter in a massacre at a gay Florida nightclub says he’s in shock and that he wasn’t aware of anything his son might have been planning.

Mir Seddique is the father of Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Seddique told NBC News that his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that may be related to the shooting.

Seddique says: “We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. … We are in shock like the whole country.”

The father also says the incident has nothing to do with religion.

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11:45 a.m.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Leinonen was at the popular Pulse club and is missing. That’s according to his mother, Christine Leinonen. She drove to Orlando at 4 a.m. She hasn’t heard from her son and fears the worst. She was standing in front of an Orlando hospital just down the street from Pulse.

She says: “These are nonsensical killings of our children. They’re killing our babies!”

Also, on Sunday morning Facebook added a “Facebook Safety Check” for people to find out whether friends and family have tagged themselves as safe. The social network is using the heading “The Shooting in Orlando, Florida.”

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11:20 a.m.

Families and friends are awaiting word outside an Orlando hospital to learn whether their loved ones are among 50 killed and 53 more hospitalized at a shooting at a gay nightclub.

Fatriana Evans frequents the Pulse nightclub and was outside when shots were fired.

Evans says, “It sounded like fireworks – pop, pop, pop – and then everybody scatters.”

Jackie Smith was inside the club and says two friends next to her were shot. She says she hasn’t gotten updates on their conditions. She came out of the hospital and burst into tears in the arms of friends.

She says: “Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance. I just tried to get out of there.”

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11 a.m.

Police say the shooter at an Orlando nightclub used an AR-15-type assault rifle on all the victims.

Officials at the news conference also say they have securing the suspect’s vehicle, a van, right outside the club.

Dr. Mike Cheatham is a trauma surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where 46 patients were taken. The majority are in critical condition.

He tells The Associated Press, “I think we will see the death toll rise.”

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10:50 a.m.

The massacre at an Orlando nightclub that claimed 50 lives is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Mayor Buddy Dyer says 53 more are hospitalized after the early Sunday incident. He says the shooter is among the dead.

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10:30 a.m.

The mayor of Orlando says there were 50 casualties and there are 53 more hospitalized after a mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub there.

He says the shooter used an assault rifle on all those killed.

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10:20 a.m.

The suspect in the mass shooting at night club in Florida has been identified as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks said earlier that the mass shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. He says authorities are looking into whether the incident was an act of domestic or international terror, and if the shooter was a lone wolf.

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