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Orlando Killer Appears to Have Been “Homegrown Extremist”
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Orlando Killer Appears to Have Been “Homegrown Extremist”

The gunman whose attack on a nightclub left 49 victims dead appears to have been a “homegrown extremist” who espoused support for a jumble of often-conflicting radical groups, the White House and the FBI said on Monday.
As Orlando mourned its dead with flowers, candles and vigils, counterterrorism investigators dug into the background of 29-year-old Omar Mateen, the American-born Muslim who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, AP reported.
“So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States, and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network,” said FBI Director James Comey.
But he said Mateen was clearly “radicalized,” at least in part via the internet.
Comey said the bureau is also trying to determine whether Mateen had recently scouted Disney World as a potential target, as reported by People.com, which cited an unidentified federal law enforcement source. “We’re still working through that,” Comey said.
The FBI chief defended the bureau’s handling of Mateen during two previous investigations into his apparent terrorist sympathies. As for whether there was anything the FBI should have done differently, “so far, the honest answer is, I don’t think so,” Comey said.
Despite Mateen’s pledge of fealty to the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, a murky combination of other possible motives and explanations emerged, with his ex-wife saying he suffered from mental illness and his father suggesting he may have acted out of anti-gay hatred.
The Orlando Sentinel and other news organizations quoted regular customers at the club as saying they had seen Mateen there a number of times.
“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” said Ty Smith.
Smith said he saw the killer inside at least a dozen times.
Wielding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a handgun, Mateen opened fire at Pulse Orlando early Sunday in a three-hour shooting rampage and hostage siege that ended with a SWAT team killing him. During the attack, he called 911 to profess allegiance to the IS.
At the White House, President Barack Obama said there is no clear evidence so far that Mateen was directed by the group, calling the attack an apparent example of “homegrown extremism”. Obama is traveling to Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects to the victims and stand in solidarity with the community, the White House said Monday evening.

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