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Last of the 49 bodies removed from Orlando nightclub

14 Jun,2016

 

Orlando, BdChronicle:

The last of the bodies were removed from an Orlando gay nightclub overnight as investigators dug into the background of the gunman who killed 49 people and devastated a city world-famous for its theme parks.

"We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater," Mayor Buddy Dyer vowed on Monday, a day after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The killer, who died in a gun battle with a SWAT team early Sunday, was identified as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim who authorities say called 911 from the club to claim allegiance to the Islamic State group.

FBI officials said they had investigated him in 2013 and 2014 on suspicion of terrorist sympathies but could not make a case against him.

Mateen opened fire at the Pulse Orlando club with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in such close quarters that the bullets could hardly miss. He was gunned down after police used explosives and a small armored vehicle to punch a hole in a wall and allow dozens of club-goers to escape, police said.

"I've always felt so safe here for my family, kids. And now, I don't know," said Marlon Massey, who lives across the street from the club, in the city known to tourists around the globe as the home of Walt Disney World and other theme parks.

President Barack Obama called the shooting an "act of terror" and an "act of hate" against a place of "solidarity and empowerment" for gays.

Authorities have not said whether Mateen was directed by the Islamic State or simply acted in sympathy with the extremist group. His father suggested another motive: anti-gay hatred. The father said his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami. Mateen's ex-wife said he was mentally ill — specifically, bipolar.

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