The gunman who killed about 50 people and injured at least 53 at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen.
Mateen, of Fort Pierce, Fla., in St. Lucie County, which is roughly 123 miles south of Orlando, is responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, U.S. officials told CBS News and other media outlets.
The investigation into this mass shooting is still in early stages, and much remains unknown about Mateen and the motive in the shooting. Here is what we know about the alleged shooter so far:
The gunman is a U.S. citizen, but his family is from Afghanistan originally. Mir Seddique, the suspected shooter’s father, told NBC News that the shooting had “nothing to do with religion.” He also said Mateen got angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago and that he thinks that may have been a trigger in the shooting.
“We are apologizing for the whole incident,” he told NBC News. “We weren’t aware of any action he [was] taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”
Ron Hopper, the FBI assistant agent in charge, said at a news conference that they are “looking into all angles” but “do have suggestions” that the suspect had leanings toward jihadi ideologies.
Speaking to media, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said he was told by intelligence sources that “there is some connection to ISIS,” which has not been confirmed officially.
“Facts seem to connect this to terrorism, but we can’t say that totally yet,” he said.
Law enforcement sources also told NBC that Mateen was born in New York.
CNN’s Evan Pérez said that Mateen had rented a car in Fort Pierce so that he could travel to Orlando for the attack and that he worked as a security officer.
Online records show he was a registered Democrat.
Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Mateen had been “on the radar” of U.S. authorities for a while, but that he was not the target of an investigation.
Florida Rep. Alan Grayson said Mateen was an American citizen, though he said he has several family members who aren’t. CBS News has confirmed that Mateen was born in the United States, is 29 years old and has Afghan parents.
Additional information about Mateen was scarce as police gathered more information about the tragedy.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a news conference that an officer responded to gunshots outside Pulse nightclub around 2 a.m. and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. At that point, the gunman ran inside the dance club, opened fire again and took hostages, Mina said.
Officers from various law enforcement agencies throughout the region responded, and a SWAT team stormed the building in an attempt to rescue the hostages, shooting and killing the gunman, he said.
“The suspect is dead. He appeared to be carrying a rifle, an assault-type rifle, and a handgun, and had some type of [explosive] device on him. That’s what we’re doing right now. Checking the area for devices,” Mina said.
Authorities are investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.
Gov. Rick Scott released a statement saying his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and everyone affected by the tragedy.
“We are a strong and resilient state and we will devote every resource available to assist with the shooting in Orlando,” the statement reads. “Our state emergency operations center is also monitoring this tragic incident. I have been in constant communication with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and state and local law enforcement this morning. I would like to also thank all the first responders who quickly came to assist and help those in need.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he issued a state of emergency for the city and that he had called Scott to request that they do the same at the state level.
He said they will focus on identifying the victims and notifying family members. They also set up a hotline for concerned family members: 407-246-4357.