Omar Mir Seddique Mateen
- Mass Murder
- Pulse – The Gay Nightclub Massacre
- June 12. 2016
- 50 dead – 53 wounded
Omar Mir Seddique Mateen was an American mass murderer who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, before he was killed in a shootout with the local police. It was both the deadliest shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in United States history.
Before the shooting, Omar Mateen had been investigated for connections to terrorism by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. During that period, he was placed on the Terrorist Screening Database, but subsequently removed.
In a call to 9-1-1 during the shooting, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen identified himself as “Mujahideen”, “Islamic Soldier”, and “Soldier of God”; and pledged his allegiance multiple times to the Sunni militant jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He said the shooting was “triggered” by an airstrike in Iraq that killed Abu Wahib, an ISIL commander, weeks before.
The Murders of Omar Mir Seddique Mateen
On June 11, 2016, Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was hosting Latin Night, a weekly Saturday night event drawing a primarily Hispanic crowd. About 320 people were inside the club, which was serving last call drinks at around 2:00 a.m. on June 12th.
After arriving at the club by van, Omar Mateen approached the building on foot, armed with a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol. At 2:02 a.m., a uniformed off-duty Orlando Police Department officer working extra duty as a security guard engaged Mateen. Mateen bypassed him into the building and began shooting patrons. Two additional officers also engaged Mateen, who then retreated farther into the nightclub and “began a ‘hostage situation'”.
In the next 45 minutes, about 100 officers from the OPD and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene. Among the earliest first responders to arrive were a firefighter crew from Fire Station 5 and two supporting firefighter paramedics from Fire Station 7. Eighty Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel from the Orlando Fire Department were deployed during the entire incident.
During the shooting, some of the people who were trapped inside the club sought help by calling or sending text messages to friends and relatives. Initially, some of them thought the gunshots were firecrackers or part of the music. A recently discharged Marine veteran who was working as a bouncer immediately recognized the sounds as gunfire from a high-caliber gun, jumped over a locked door—behind which dozens of people were hidden and paralyzed by fear—and opened a latched door behind them that allowed about 70 people to escape.
A Scene of Panic
Many described a scene of panic and confusion caused by the loud music and darkness. One person shielded herself by hiding inside a bathroom and covering herself with bodies. A bartender said she took cover beneath the glass bar. At least one patron tried to help those who were hit. According to a man trapped inside a bathroom with fifteen other patrons, Mateen fired sixteen times into the bathroom, through the closed door, killing at least two and wounding several others.
According to one of the hostages, Mateen entered a bathroom where people were hiding and opened fire, wounding several. The hostage, who had taken cover inside a stall with others, was injured by two bullets and struck with flying pieces of a wall that was hit by stray bullets. Mateen’s rifle then jammed briefly, at which point he switched to using a handgun. Two survivors quoted Mateen as saying, “I don’t have a problem with black people”, and that he “wouldn’t stop his assault until America stopped bombing his country”. Other survivors heard Mateen claim that he had explosives as well as snipers stationed around the club.
Patrons trapped inside called or texted 9-1-1 to warn of the possible presence of explosives.
At 2:09 a.m., several minutes after the gunfire started, the club posted on its Facebook page, “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.” At 2:22 a.m., Mateen placed a 9-1-1 call in which he mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers—Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—as his “homeboys” and made a reference to Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, an American citizen who died in a suicide bombing in Syria in 2014.
Mateen said he was inspired by Abu Salha’s death for the Al-Nusra Front targeting Syrian government troops (a mutual enemy of the two Salafist groups, despite their history of violence with each other), and swore allegiance to ISIL leader al-Baghdadi. The FBI said that Mateen and Abu Salha had attended the same mosque and knew each other “casually”. Mateen made two other 9-1-1 calls during the shooting. Numerous 9-1-1 calls were made by the patrons inside the nightclub around this time.
After the initial rounds of gunfire between Mateen and the security guard at Pulse, six officers, with at least a couple carrying assault rifles, shot out a large glass window and followed the sound of shooting to the bathroom area. When Mateen stuck his head out from one of the bathrooms, at least two officers shot at him. After the gunfire stopped, they were ordered to hold position instead of storming the bathroom, according to one of the officers.
After about 15 to 20 minutes, SWAT arrived and had the officers withdraw as the officers were “not really in tactical gear”. SWAT then took over the operation. On why the officers didn’t proceed to the bathroom and engage him, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said it was because Mateen “went from an active shooter to a barricaded gunman” and had hostages. He also noted, “If he had continued shooting, our officers would have went in there.” At that time, the last shot by Mateen was fired between 2:10 a.m. and 2:18 a.m.
At 2:45 a.m., Mateen called News 13 of Orlando and said, “I’m the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter.” He then said he was carrying out the shooting on behalf of ISIL and began speaking rapidly in Arabic. Mateen also said the shooting was “triggered” by a U.S.-led bombing strike in Iraq that killed Abu Wahib, an ISIL military commander, on May 6.
A crisis negotiator was present as Mateen was holed up inside and holding hostages. Officers initially believed he was armed with a “suspicious device” that posed a threat, but it was later revealed to be a battery that fell out of an exit sign or smoke detector.
Police hostage negotiators spoke with Mateen by telephone three times between 2:48 a.m. and 3:27 a.m. He claimed during one of the calls that he had bombs strapped onto him. At 3:58 a.m., the OPD announced to the public that there was a shooting at the club, and that there were multiple injuries. At 4:21 a.m., eight of the hostages escaped after police had removed an air conditioning unit from an exterior wall.
At approximately 4:29 a.m., Mateen told negotiators that he planned to strap explosive vests to four hostages, strategically place them in different corners of the building, and detonate them in 15 minutes. OPD officers then decided to end negotiations and prepare to blow their way in.
Last Words of Omar Mir Seddique Mateen
At around 2:30 a.m., Mateen’s second wife—after receiving a call from her mother at approximately 2:00 a.m. asking where her husband was—sent a text message to Mateen asking where he was. Mateen texted back asking her if she had seen the news. After she replied, “No?”, Mateen responded, “I love you, babe.” According to one source, she texted him back at one point saying that she loved him. She also called him several times during the standoff, but he did not answer. She found out about what was happening at 4:00 a.m. after the police told her to get out of her house with her hands up.
A survivor of the shooting recalled Mateen saying he wanted the United States to “stop bombing his country”. The FBI said Mateen “told a negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that was why he was ‘out here right now'”.
The FBI reported that no shots were heard between the time Mateen stopped exchanging gunfire with the first responders and 5:02 a.m., when Orlando police breached the building’s wall. Just before the breach, Mateen entered a women’s bathroom where the hostages were hiding and opened fire, killing a man who sacrificed his life to save the woman behind him and at least one other, according to witnesses.
At 5:07 a.m., fourteen SWAT officers—after failing to blow open a big enough hole in the bathroom’s exterior wall using a bomb—successfully breached the building when a policeman drove a BearCat armored vehicle through a wall, then used two flash bangs to distract him and shot at him.
At 5:14 a.m., Mateen engaged the officers. He was shot eight times and killed in the resulting shootout, which involved at least eleven officers who fired a total of about 150 bullets. He was reported “down” at 5:17 a.m.
At 5:05 a.m., the police said a bomb squad had set off a controlled explosion. At 5:53 a.m., the Orlando police posted on Twitter, “Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead.” Thirty hostages were freed during the police operation. The survivors were searched by police for guns and explosives.
49 club goers were murdered plus Omar, who was killed during the shooting. 53 were wounded.
credit – murderpedia