FBI: Orlando gunman had been probed for ties to bomber

2016-06-13 06:15
An undated image of Omar Mateen. (Orlando police department via AP)

An undated image of Omar Mateen. (Orlando police department via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Orlando - The gunman behind the deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Florida on Sunday had previously been investigated for ties to an American suicide bomber, the FBI said Sunday.

Special Agent Ronald Hopper said 29-year-old Omar Mateen had been cleared by the probe, but was believed to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the massacre, which left 50 dead.

"He died in an exchange of gunfire with officers," Hopper confirmed.

According to the agent, Mateen twice came to the attention of investigators in 2013 and 2014 over alleged links to Islamist extremists.

"The FBI first became aware of Mateen in 2013 when he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible terrorist ties," he told reporters.

"The FBI thoroughly investigated the matter including interviews with witnesses, physical surveillance and records checks.

"In the course of the investigation Mateen was interviewed twice. Ultimately we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed."

Later, he was interviewed by agents investigating his contacts with Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a fellow Floridian and the first US citizen to carry out a suicide bombing in Syria.

"We determined the contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time," Hopper told reporters.

Asked how Mateen had been able to hold a Florida gun license and to legally purchase two guns shortly before the attack, Hopper said simply that the investigation into his supposed radical ties had been "inconclusive".

"It has been reported that Mateen made calls to 911 this morning (Sunday) in which he stated his allegiance to the Islamic State," he said.

"We're looking into any and all connections both domestic and international."

Read more on:    us  |  orlando shooting

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.