Gunman Omar Mateen Was Born In New York, FBI Says


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Orlando massacre Gunman Omar Mir Seddique Mateen armed himself with both an assault rifle and a handgun when he opened fire on a gay nightclub and left 50 people dead.

Officials said Mateen, 20, was born in New York. They said the FBI had previously interviewed Mateen but determined he was not considered a threat at the time of the interview.

A law enforcement source told CBS News Mateen called 911 just prior to the shooting and declared his allegiance to ISIS. He gave his full name to the 911 operator, CBS News reported. In that call, Mateen mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers.

FULL STORY |PHOTOS | Local Response5 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. | Info On Suspect | National Reaction |NYC Mourns

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, CBS News reports.

Here is what we know about Mateen so far, according to CBS News.

Mateen Claimed Allegiance To ISIS

Sources tell CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegeus that Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS. During the 911 call, Mateen referenced Boston marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Pegues reports.

Mateen gave his full name to 911 dispatchers, according to Pegues.

ISIS officially took credit for the attack on social media, but American investigators have yet to corroborate the claim. ISIS has in the past taken credit for attacks that were not planned by them.

A U.S. intelligence source told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that Islamic terrorism is being investigated as a possible motive in the shooting because of several indicators, including the style of the attack, which had similarities to the attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March.

He Was Known To The FBI

Mateen had been on federal law enforcement radar in recent years. According to FBI Agent Ron Hopper, Mateen first came to the FBI’s attention in 2013 when he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorism. Hopper says the claims were “thoroughly investigated” and Mateen was interviewed twice.

“In the course of the investigation, Mateen was interviewed twice,” Hopper said. ‘Ultimately, we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed.”

Mateen again surfaced on federal radar in 2014, Hopper said, as someone who may have had ties to a suicide bomber. Mateen was again interviewed, but investigators determined the contact was minimal and didn’t constitute a threat. That investigation was also closed out, Hopper said.

Moner Abu-Salha blew himself up in 2014.

“We determined that contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time,” Hopper said.

He Legally Purchased Two Weapons

An ATF official said Mateen had legally purchased a handgun and a “long gun” within the past week. Mateen had a concealed carry permit from the state of Florida allowing him to legally purchase a firearm in the state, a law enforcement source told Milton.

“We know that this individual did purchase at least two firearms,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge Trevor Velinor. “He is not a prohibited person. so he can legally walk into a gun dealership and acquire and purchase firearms.”

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the suspect was armed with a handgun and an AR-15-style assault rifle. There’s no current indication that Mateen had accomplices, police say.

He Worked As A Security Guard And Worshiped At An Islamic Center

Mateen worked as a security guard, and was employed by G4S Security since Sept. 10, 2007. In a statement, G4S said they are “shocked and saddened by the tragic event” and are cooperating with law enforcement.

CBS News confirmed that Mateen worshiped at the Islamic Center in Fort Pierce, about 15 miles north of Port St. Lucie and 120 miles south of Orlando. Men at the mosque who didn’t want to be identified told CBS News they have known Mateen for about five years and that he would come to the center with his son, a 3-year-old, to pray. They described Mateen as a devoted father and family man and said there was no indication that he would do something like this.

An imam there told CBS News he was married.

The Islamic Center released a statement condemning the attack, calling it “monstrous.”

“The Muslim community of Fort Pierce joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence,” the statement read.

The imam at the Islamic Center described his family as very caring. He said the mosque preaches moderate Islam, and he was completely surprised by the terrible act of violence.

“This is the act of the individual,” said Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. “What is cooking in his mind we do not know only god knows what was in his mind.”

A law enforcement official has confirmed to CBS news senior investigative producer Pat Milton that Mateen made the Hajj, an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in March 2012.

He Allegedly Abused His Former Wife

The suspect had been married to Sitora Yusufiy for several months before divorcing in 2011, Milton reports.

An Edison, New Jersey man who identified himself as Yusufiy’s father and Mateen’s former father-in-law told CBS News his daughter was married to Mateen seven years ago. He said the two met online and had only known each other for a few months when she moved to Florida and married him.

“When we even heard that, we actually didn’t like that,” said the man, who didn’t give his name. “Because we are people who believe in conservative traditions, and we said you know it’s weird that you know this person for two to three months online.”

The man said Mateen became abusive towards his daughter. The family went to Florida in September 2009 to pick up their daughter and called police to get her belongings, he said. She later filed for divorce.
Since then, the woman and her family have had no contact with Mateen, he said.

Yusufiy herself also described her ex-husband’s behavior.

“He was mentally unstable and mentally ill. That’s the only explanation that I can give. And he was obviously disturbed,” she said.

The family is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. in 1999, the man said. He said he was surprised to learn Mateen was the suspected gunman.

“I was really shocked, why would he do such a thing? So many people,” the man said.

Officials Piecing Together A Profile

Officials are trying to piece together who the suspect was and hone in on his online footprint. A law enforcement source tells Milton investigators are seeking court authorized search warrants for the suspect’s home, car, and communication devices including his cell phone and computer. Police have said the suspect was driving a van that was found outside the nightclub.

They are also seeking Mateen’s financial records and phone records to determine who he may have been in contact with, including anyone overseas.

Authorities are investigating whether Mateen was on a terrorism watchlist, which could shed light on a possible motive, Pegues reports. Mateen has no apparent criminal history, according to sources. Allegations of anti-gay leanings amid investigation into possible hate motivation.

The suspect’s father, Mir Seddique, has spoken out to the media, saying his son was anti-gay and he doesn’t believe the attack was motivated by religion.

Mir Seddique said his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that may be related to the shooting, WFOR-TV, CBS4 in Miami reported.

Seddique says: “We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. … We are in shock like the whole country.”

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson said he believes the attack was “ideologically motivated.”

Sources tell Milton that authorities investigating the incident are still looking into whether the attack is a hate crime. But Grayson said he believes “it’s no coincidence that the attack took place where it did and when it did.”

“It might be that we’ve seen the commission of an awful hate crime last night,” Grayson said.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)