The heartbreak and devastation continues to grow as more details about the victims in Orlando filter out.
In addition to our heartbreak and thoughts for the families and friends of those killed in the horrific act of bigotry, hatred and violence at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Saturday night, we at WitnessLA also hope that news reporting on this tragedy is sober minded, fact-based, and resists the desire to twist the terrible sorrow of others for political purposes.
President Obama has called the attack at the popular LGBT nightclub that killed fifty people, and injured another 53, “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
The gunman, who is also dead, has been identified as Omar Siddiqui Mateen, a U.S. citizen. He reportedly called 911 prior to his shooting rampage, and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, although there was no early evidence that they had contact with the gunman. It seems instead ISUS opportunistically claimed credit after the fact.
At the same time, Mateen’s father, and his ex-wife, have each told reporters that Mateen had often made anti-gay remarks in the past.
In addition, the former wife of the gunman described him as violent, abusive and unstable.
Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles a man was arrested for weapons and explosives and told authorities he was planning to meet a friend at Sunday’s Gay Pride parade. It was reportedly later that the man allegedly planned to cause “harm” to those in the parade.
Yet, near the end of Sunday, this report was found to be inaccurate. The man with the guns and explosives intended to go to the parade but not cause “harm.” Why he was carrying weapons and explosives was not clear. The LA Times has been following the story.