The gunman who opened fire at a gay Florida nightclub early Sunday, shooting over 100 people, had called 911 moments before to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIS, law enforcement sources told NBC News.
But as investigators try to determine if extremism motivated Omar Mateen, 29, to attack the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, his family believes he was pushed over the edge by pure hate against the LGBT community.
Various law enforcement officials have identified the shooter as Mateen, who was born in New York and lived in Port St. Lucie on Florida’s eastern shores. Due to his job as a security officer, he had access to federal buildings. Mateen was previously investigated by the FBI three years ago for terrorist ties.
The attack, which claimed at least 50 lives, is considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. While authorities are still investigating what motivated the gunman, the shooting is being considered an act of terrorism.
“We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry,” Mir Seddique, told NBC News on Sunday. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”
“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” Seddique said. “We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”
Seddique added, “This had nothing to do with religion.”