Florida

Pulse shooter posted about ISIS on Facebook during massacre, senator says

Ths Sunday, June 12, 2016 file photo, shows ial view of the mass shooting scene at the Pulse nightclub is seen in Orlando.
Ths Sunday, June 12, 2016 file photo, shows ial view of the mass shooting scene at the Pulse nightclub is seen in Orlando. AP

As he carried out the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history Sunday morning, Omar Mateen used Facebook to “search for and post terrorism-related activity,” according to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Mateen searched for “Pulse Orlando” and “shooting.”

He posted “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state ... I pledge my allegiance to abu bakr al Baghdadi...may Allah accept me.”

And in a final post, before he died in a 5 a.m. police raid, Mateen wrote: “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa.”

Mateen’s activity on Facebook as he plotted and carried out a shooting that killed 49 and wounded 53 adds new, chilling details to the Sunday morning massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. His posts were laid out Wednesday by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, in a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Johnson wrote to Zuckerberg to ask him to assist the committee’s inquiry into the terrorist attack.

“I ask that you please provide all Facebook data on Mr. Mateen’s activities on his account and any affiliated Facebook accounts, including but not limited to activity logs, Facebook timeline information, Facebook messages, photos and posts,” wrote Johnson.

Johnson clarified that Facebook isn’t a target of any inquiry, but asked for the information, and for Facebook officials to attend a briefing with committee staff, no later than June 29.

Authorities and witnesses say Mateen opened fire with a Sig Sauer MCX rifle and Glock 17 pistol inside Pulse right around last call at 2 a.m. He initially engaged with an off-duty officer, and then spent about three hours inside the club with the dead, wounded and trapped before police burst into the club and killed him around 5 a.m.

Police had already stated that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS during a call with authorities from inside the club, and local station News 13 said he also called the station and made a statement about ISIS.

Mateen was likely inspired by Islamic extremism, according to the FBI and President Barack Obama, who will be in Orlando Thursday. But there’s no signs he acted on orders from anyone abroad.

And his motives may be more complicated: several club-goers said Mateen frequented Pulse for months, and was gay himself.

According to Johnson, Mateen had at least five associated Facebook accounts, and on Sunday morning also condemned “the filthy ways of the west,” and U.S. airstrikes that kill “innocent wommen and children.”

“Now taste the Islamic state vengeance,” Mateen wrote, according to Johnson.

Johnson also said his staff learned that Mateen searched for information on the San Bernardino shooters in May, and searched for “Baghdadi Speech” on June 4. They also learned that Mateen frequently used Facebook to search for information on the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.

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