- Thomson Reuters
The gunman who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in US history reportedly posted messages in support of the terrorist group ISIS on his Facebook page during the attack.
Omar Mateen killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday and said he did it in the name of ISIS, the group also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh.
Mateen, 29, who was shot dead by the police during the attack, was on a terror watch list in the US after authorities questioned him in separate 2013 and 2014 investigations. He was known to authorities because he had expressed sympathies for other terrorist groups, including the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and the Shia militant group Hezbollah.
CBS News obtained one of Mateen’s Facebook messages, which reportedly read:
You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance [sic]
In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic State in the usa.
Fox News reports that he posted other messages after the attack started. Ron Johnson, the Senate homeland security chairman, shared the messages with Fox. They reportedly read:
I pledge my alliance to [ISIS leader] abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me
The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west
Mateen also searched for the terms “Pulse Orlando” and “shooting” on Facebook during the attack, according to Fox.
Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, sent a letter to Facebook on Wednesday asking the company to assist in the investigation of the shooting.
Mateen died in a shootout with the police hours after the attack began. He also pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack. An FBI source told Fox that Mateen made 16 phone calls from inside the club.
A local TV station in Orlando reported taking a call from someone who claimed to be the nightclub shooter while the attack was ongoing. The caller said he was the shooter and then added: “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.”
Despite Mateen’s pro-ISIS statements, his motives most likely go beyond just terrorist ideology. Some of the people closest to Mateen have hinted at psychological issues, and witnesses have come forward saying Mateen frequented the nightclub he attacked.