Orlando Update

All 49 of the victims of Orlando’s attack have been identified. You can read about them and their stories here.

While many victims of Saturday night’s shooting at an Orlando gay club still remain hospitalized (6 in critical condition), information about the shooter continues to trickle in. 29-year-old Omar Mateen was born in the United States to Afghan immigrants. He was not overly religious, but had made numerous hateful remarks regarding gay people, according to sources. Mateen may have become radicalized over the past few years, however, as two trips to Saudi Arabia (one in 2011 and one in 2012) could either be a reflection of increased religious devotion as he claimed to be traveling for umrah, or the trips may act as a ruse, hiding his real motive of traveling on to somewhere like Yemen. Muslim leaders have noted that a young person taking two trips for umrah is very rare, and most religious Muslims make the trip only once, if at all.  During one of the three 911 calls he made just after the rampage, Mateen declared allegiance to ISIS and gave accolades to the Boston bombing brothers.

The weapons used by Mateen were an AR-type rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. He had purchased two guns legally (police have not confirmed if they were the same guns used) after passing a background check.

Mateen’s self-declared wife and mother of his three-year-old son claims to have known about his plot, as well as other targets he had considered. She is now under investigation and could face criminal charges of accessory to murder.

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