It's been confirmed by the FBI that Omar Mateen, the shooter who open-fired on an Orlando LGBTQ nightclub killing at least 50 people, was an ISIS sympathizer and a proponent of Islamic extremism. Whether he had any deeper affiliation with the group beyond sharing their anti-American and anti-LGBTQ sentiments is still unknown, though the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the tragedy. Mateen mentioned the terrorist group in a call to 911 during the attack and has been under FBI scrutiny for suspicious activity at least three times since 2013. Hewas 29-years-old and a first-generation American citizen.

A history of violence, homophobia, and extremism

The attack on Pulse nightclub, the deadliest terrorist attack in America since 9/11, was not the first time Mateen expressed violent or homophobic behavior. His ex-wife, to whom he was married for only a few months, claims she ended their relationship after numerous instances of domestic violence, and added that she thought he had 'anger issues.' A co-worker of Mateen's says that he consistently made racial and homophobic comments, and seemed 'unhinged' and unstable.

His father also claims that during a Pride event in Miami, Mateen made more homophobic comments and acted visibly disgusted after seeing two men kiss. Despite this, Mateen's family was surprised to learn of his involvement with ISIS, claiming that he never was 'particularly religious.' The FBI have investigated Mateen at least three times since 2013, when he made comments to co-workers about possibly being involved with terrorist organizations. He was subsequently investigated for possibly being linked to other terrorist attacks, but the investigation was closed due to lack of evidence.

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Mateen called 911 about 20 minutes into the attack, pledging allegiance to ISIS and mentioning the Tsarnaev brothers, the perpetrators of the 2013 bombings at the Boston marathon. Mateen entered the popular Orlando club with a handgun and assault rifle that he'd legally purchased within the last few days, and open-fired, injuring 53 and killing at least 50 people. He was subsequently killed in a shootout with police.

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