The suspect behind the worst mass shooting in U.S. history has been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen who called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS just before the attack.
- Officials confirm Mateen legally bought two firearms within the last few days — one handgun and one assault rifle.
- He had been interviewed multiple times times by the FBI and was under surveillance in 2013 and in 2014.
- The FBI connected Mateen to a suicide bomber, but investigations were closed when agents determined his contact was minimal and didn’t warrant a threat.
Mateen, 29, was born in New York City to Afghan parents, according to NBC News. He worked as a private security guard and lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which lies 125 miles south of Orlando where the massacre takes place.
Just before the attacks, Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, law enforcement officials told NBC News. While at the scene, he also mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers, who carried out the deadly 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon.
So far there is no indication of the Islamic extremist group’s direct involvement in the massacre.
Authorities told ABC News that Mateen had been “on the radar” of U.S. agencies.
“He’s a known quantity,” a senior law enforcement source told The Daily Beast, noting that Mateen had been a person of interest in 2013 and again in 2014. said. “He’s been on the radar before.”
The FBI opened an investigation into Mateen but later closed it when it produced no results, The Daily Beast reported.
Records also show he had filed a petition in 2006 to change his name from Omar Mir Seddique to Omar Mir Seddique Mateen.
Mir Seddique, identified as Mateen’s father, told NBC News that the massacre “has nothing to do with religion,” saying his son may have been incited after seeing two men kiss.
Pulse, the nightclub where the massacre took place, catered to LGBT clientele.
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” Seddique said. “We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”
Seddique said Mateen had been married and the couple had a 3-year-old son.
He had received an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Indian River State College, Seddique said.
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