This is tough to read.
According to authorities, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida last night — and apparently, gunman Omar Mateen called 911 during the shooting to pledge his allegiance to the terror organization.
Orlando police officials told reporters that they believe Mateen called 911 about 30 minutes after he started opening fire at the Orlando club, announcing that he was shooting up the club and warning police about having explosives along with him there.
A federal official told PEOPLE that after Mateen hung up, 911 dispatchers called him back:
“The 911 operator, using reverse-call technology, called back the gunman and it was then that he pledged allegiance to [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
Soon thereafter, ISIS officially claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, released a statement on the attacks and very clearly said this was an incident straight from ISIS’ orders:
“The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”
As we previously mentioned, the FBI had investigated Mateen for ties to terror organizations, but those investigations were shuttered at the time for reasons currently unknown.
A federal official said simply:
“The FBI was aware of this guy before today. He was on their radar.”
This also comes on the heels of Orlando Police releasing the first full photograph of Mateen, seen below in an undated snap:
Police are currently digging through more lines of inquiry regarding Mateen’s background, his sympathies and ties to ISIS, and whatever else may be applicable here.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all the victims and their family, friends, and loved ones.