FBI: Orlando gunman had strong indications of radicalization

The FBI said Monday that Omar Mateen spoke with a 911 operator three times early Sunday morning

Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in what is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. (Courtesy: MySpace)
Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in what is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. (Courtesy: MySpace)


WASHINGTON (AP) – FBI Director James Comey says the gunman in the Orlando nightclub attack that killed 49 people had “strong indications of radicalization” and was likely inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.

Comey told reporters Monday that Omar Mateen spoke with a 911 operator three times early Sunday morning. He said that shooter called 911 during the attack and not only pledged loyalty to the Islamic State but also expressed solidarity with the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing and a suicide bomber who died on behalf of the al-Nusra front, a group at odds with the Islamic State.

Comey says in the past few years, the gunman also expressed support for both al-Qaida and its enemy Hezbollah.

The FBI investigated Mateen for 10 months beginning in May 2013 after he was said to have inflammatory remarks in support of terrorists.

Comey said investigators introduced him to confidential sources, followed him and reviewed some of his communications, but Mateen claimed he made the remarks in anger because co-workers were teasing and discriminating against him because he was Muslim.

As for whether the FBI should have done anything differently, Comey says so far he doesn’t think so.

The early Sunday attack marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen died in a gun battle with police.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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