A gunman referencing ISIS opened fire inside a gay nightclub early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, killing at least 50 people.
The shooter’s father remembers that his son recently got angry after seeing two men kissing in Miami and believes the incident may be related to the assault, according to the Associated Press.
The shooter, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen from Port St. Lucie, Florida, was said to have had anti-gay feelings and was interviewed twice by the FBI in the past.
FBI agent Ronald Hopper said that, although it was discovered that Mateen had ties to an American suicide bomber, the contact was minimal and not seen as a threat.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said, “It is important to note that we must review the facts of these events carefully and not jump to conclusions prematurely,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “We must counter the ideology and hate of all those who want to do us harm, including those perpetuated by lone wolves,” Associated Press reports.
Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va. 3rd District), a vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, added his thoughts on the tragedy.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims, as well as with the entire LGBT community. While details continue to emerge, last night’s shooting is particularly insidious in that it occurred at a prominent gay night club when Americans across the country were gathering to celebrate LGBT Pride Month and the remarkable diversity of our nation.”
This is the deadliest shooting since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, CNN reports, in which 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before ending his own life.