A defiant fist is raised at a vigil for the worst mass shooing in United States history on June 13 in Los Angeles. (David McNew | Getty Images)
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen who gunned down 49 people at a gay club in Orlando was a “lone actor” influenced by the ideologies of Islamic State militant group, President Barack Obama said, June 14, writes Lalit K. Jha.
The wife of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen may face criminal charges after reports emerged that she was aware of his plots to attack a gay nightclub and was with him when he bought ammunition, writes Yoshita Singh. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #orlandoattacks
“Terrorist groups like ISIL have called on people around the world and here in the United States to attack innocent civilians. Their propaganda, their videos, their postings are pervasive and more easily accessible than we want,” Obama said at the Treasury Department after his meeting with his national security team.
“This (Orlando shooter) individual appears to have absorbed some of that and during his killing spree, the shooter in Orlando pledged allegiance to ISIL. These lone actors or small cells of terrorists are very hard to detect and very hard to prevent,” he said.
Mateen killed 49 people and wounded another 53 before he was killed when police stormed Pulse, one of Orlando’s most prominent gay venues, June 12.
Obama said that the government is doing everything it could to stop these kinds of attacks.
“But across our government at every level, federal, state and local, military and civilian, we are doing everything in our power to stop these kinds of attacks. We work to succeed 100 percent of the time. An attacker, as we saw in Orlando, only has to succeed once,” he said.
Obama said extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism.
“As President, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions,” he said.
Orlando shooter’s wife may face criminal charges
Noor Zahi Salman told the FBI that she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster and she once drove him to the gay nightclub, Pulse, because he wanted to scope it out, a report in the NBC News quoted several officials familiar with the case as saying.
30-year-old Salman, Mateen’s second wife, told federal agents that she tried to talk her husband out of carrying out the attack, the news website said.
The report said authorities are considering filing criminal charges against Salman for failing to tell them what she knew before the brutal attack but no decision has been made.
Officials said Salman is cooperating with investigators.
Federal prosecutors have convened a grand jury to investigate Mateen’s wife, seeking to charge her as an accessory to 49 counts of murder and 53 counts of attempted murder as well as with failure to notify law enforcement about the pending terrorist attack and lying to federal agents, a federal law enforcement source told Fox News.
Law enforcement officials said Salman accompanied Mateen on trips to scout potential targets, though it is unclear how much she knew about his intentions, it said.
Salman told investigators that Mateen shared his plans with her to carry out an attack and the shooter may have even called her from the gay club Pulse during the slaughter, a source told Fox News.
U.S. Senator Angus King, who as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed on the investigation, told CNN that “it appears she (Salman) had some knowledge of what was going on, visiting some of the other sites.”
“We don’t know whether she was involved and knew about the purchase of the guns, which took place only about a week before the attack. But she definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be cooperating and can provide us with some important information on who this guy is, what his motivations were and what his plans were,” King said.
Earlier, Mateen’s former wife Sitora Yusufiy had said that he himself might have been gay but chose to hide his true identity out of anger and shame.
Yusufiy said in media reports that her ex-husband had told her that he frequented nightclubs before their marriage, but that he did not tell her they were gay clubs.
She said Mateen had been abusive and their short-lived marriage was marred by violence and isolation.