Doctors who helped saved the lives of dozens of patients in the Orlando gay nightclub massacre plan to speak publicly Tuesday while reports emerged that killer Omar Mateen may have frequented the nightspot socially.
It’s been two days since Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard from Fort Pierce, entered the Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people, wounding 53 and engaging in a three-hour standoff before he was felled by police bullets.
Sunday’s horrific attack, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, has sparked worldwide grief and sparked heated political rhetoric over terrorism and gun control. The FBI said Monday that Mateen may have been inspired by Islamic radicalism, although there is no evidence that he plotted with anyone abroad.
Investigators are scrutinizing the role Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, may have played after she told agents that he had discussed with her the Pulse nightclub as a possible target — as well as Walt Disney World. She told agents soon after the shooting that the couple had discussed the plot during a recent trip to the theme park, a law-enforcement source told the Miami Herald.
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Authorities are also now investigating witness reports that Mateen may have been a regular at Pulse, a popular Orlando gay club.
Several club patrons told the Orlando Sentinel that Mateen, a married father, was a regular at Pulse. Several customers told the newspaper that Mateen came into the club to drink and was prone to outbursts.
“It was definitely him,” patron Cord Cedeno told the newspaper. “He'd come in for years, and people knew him.”
Another man told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen, for about a year, had messaged him off and on on a gay chat app called Jack’d.
Meanwhile, the eight surgeons from the Orlando Health Regional Medical Center, as well as two patients, will address the media Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The press conference that will be streamed live.
President Barack Obama has also announced he will visit Orlando on Thursday to pay his respect to victims' families and stand in solidarity with the community, his spokesman said. No further details about his trip have been released yet.