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Religious Tolerance logo

Religiously-inspired violence:

2016-JUN: The Orlando, FL mass
murder at The Pulse LGBT nightclub:

PART 1:

About the shooter, Omar Mateen;
media accounts; other reactions:

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Return to the Orlando mass shooting menu.

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About the shooter: Omar Mateen:

Omar Mateen, 29 was a U.S. citizen. Many people believe that he was an Afghani immigrant because of an incorrect statement made by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump shortly after the massacre. In fact, his parents had emigrated from Afghanistan to the U.S. before Omar was born in New York City, NY.

He worked as a security officer in Port St. Luicie, Florida which is located on the East coast of Florida about halfway between Orlando and Miami. He had a criminal justice degree from a local college. 1

Picture of Omar Mateen 2

Photo of Omar Mateen, from the Orlando Police.

Although he is shown here wearing a shirt with a New York Police Department (NYPD) logo, he had never worked for or had any connection to that force. The shirt can be purchased from commercial sources by the general public.

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About the mass shooting:

During early 2016-JUN, Omar Mateen purchased a Glock handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, and ammunition. These were the weapons that Mateen later used during the massacre. His wife, Noor, age 30, accompanied him to the gun store. She apparently suspected that he might be planning a mass murder and allegedly tried to persuade him to not do it. Unfortunately, she did not take the next step and contact the police with her suspicions. She may now be charged with one or two counts because of her failure to report an impending felony.

At about 2 AM Eastern time, on Sunday morning, 2016-JUN-12, Omar Mateen arrived at The Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando. It was "Latin Night;" many Hispanics were at the club. He had an altercation with with a security guard outside of the club. Shots were fired. Mateen was able to enter the nightclub. He opened fire at random, killing many patrons. He marshaled many hostages into a washroom, and killed some there. The police used an attack vehicle to punch holes in the wall of the building. Mateen emerged from one hole, shot at police and was himself killed. He died at the scene. Unfortunately, this means that police will never be able to determine directly from Matteen exactly what his motivations for the mass killing were.

A total of fifty people died, including 49 patrons at the nightclub and Mateen. Fifty three others were wounded. Fortunately, the Orlando Regional Medical Center is located only about two blocks from the club. Many of the wounded were able to walk or be carried to the hospital. Others were shuttled by ambulance. The Center had a very effective disaster plan in place to handle the massive influx of victims.

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Reports about the massacre in the media:

Many, perhaps most, media accounts of the mass murder incorrectly claimed that this was the largest mass murder in American history. For example,

  • CNN, referred to Mateen as:

    "... the Florida killer responsible for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history." 3

  • The New York Times referred to the Orlando massacre as:

    "The largest mass shooting in American history ..." 4

  • Vox.com said:

    "It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history." 5

On the other hand,

  • NPR correctly referred to the massacre as:

    "... the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history..." 6

  • Fox News also was correct then they called the massacre:

    "... the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history." 7

(Emphasis by us.)

CNN and many other usually reliable news sources were wrong. In fact, there were many incidents of mass murder during the genocide against Native Americans in the 19th Century and in at least one race riot since that involving more deaths than at Orlando. Two examples are:

  • The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857-SEP-11 in southern Utah perpetrated by a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) militia. It resulted in the deaths of 120 women, men, and children. 8

  • Approximately 300 people died during a Black-White race riot in Tulsa. OK, during late 1921-MAY. 9

By the day after the shooting, all of the next of kin of the Orlando murder victims had been notified. The "Heavy" web site, a real-time news and information source, obtained from the City of Orlando the names of the deceased victims and posted them online, with their photo and profile, if available. 10

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Other reactions to the massacre:

  • The City of Orlando released the names of the victims killed in the terror attack. They ranged in age from 18 to 50. The list said:

    "During this difficult time, we offer heartfelt condolences to the families of the 49 victims who lost their lives during the Pulse tragedy. To the families and friends of the victims, your city is with you and will continue to be with you as you deal with this unimaginable tragedy." 11

    The city's web site contains pictures of impromptu memorials with hand-made signs. Some said:

    • "If we stand together, hope will find a way."

    • "Love Orlando Strong," and

    • "Love Beats Hate."

There are also dozens of additional signs that cannot be fully read. 11

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This topic continues in Part 2.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Tom Cleary, "Omar Mateen: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know," Heavy.com, 2016-JUN-14, at: http://heavy.com/
  2. The original police photo was apparently reversed from left to right. The NYPD insignia on his shirt is backwards. We reversed the original.
  3. Ralph Ellis, et al., "Orlando shooting: What motivated a killer?," CNN, 2016-JUN-14, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  4. Denise Grady, "Orlando Injuries Were Severe, but Trauma Care Was Nearby," New York Times, 2016-JUN-14. at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  5. Zachary Crockett, "The Orlando massacre was one of 43 shootings on Sunday," Vox Media, 2016-JUN-13, at: http://www.vox.com/
  6. "Suspect Purchased Guns Legally Ahead Of Deadliest Shooting In Modern U.S. History," NPR, 2016-JUN-12, at: http://www.npr.org/
  7. "49 killed in shooting at Florida nightclub in possible act of Islamic terror," Fox News, 2016-JUN-12, at: http://www.foxnews.com/
  8. Douglas O. Linder, The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 and the Trials of John D. Lee: An Account," Famous Trials, 2006, at: http://law2.umkc.edu/
  9. "1921 Tulsa Race Riot," Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, 2016, at: http://tulsahistory.org/
  10. Tom Cleary, "Who Are the Victims of the Orlando Terror Attack?," Heavy.com, updated 2015-JUN-13, at: http://heavy.com/
  11. "Victim's Names," City of Orlando, 2016-JUN-12, at: http://www.cityoforlando.net/

Site navigation:

 Home > Religious Violence > Orlando Shooting > here

 Home > Important essays > Religious Violence> Orlando Shooting >  here

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-JUN-16
Latest update : 2016-JUN-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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