FBI Vows to Leave ‘No Stone Unturned’ in Orlando Terror Attack Investigation
The FBI is combing through the history of the Orlando terrorist leading up to the June 12 attack at a popular nightclub, the agency said on Wednesday.
“We will leave no stone unturned” said FBI assistant special agent in charge Ronald Hopper at a press conference.
Hopper said the investigation on Mateen and at the “vast crime scene” is ongoing. He also says the FBI will not release information until it has a complete picture of what the shooter did and why he did it.
Omar Mateen, 29, opened-fire in the club, killing 49 and injuring 53 in the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. The shooter was armed with a Sig Sauer MCX assault-style rifle and a handgun.
Officials say they are investigating hundreds of people who have been associated with Mateen, including friends, family members, and co-workers. The FBI is looking into the phone calls Mateen made prior to the attack, including the location they were made and the length of the conversation. Authorities are also combing the streets and other locations Mateen had been before the shooting.
The U.S. attorney for the middle district of Florida, Lee Bentley, says the investigation may take, days, weeks, or years until it is finalized.
He said his office is “not speculating today” as to what charges will be set and to whom, saying it is a premature move and will hurt the investigation.
“If someone is charged we will bring them to justice,” said Hopper.
Hopper said the FBI has no knowledge of a second shooter, and says “the deceased subject is the main suspect.”
The firearms the shooter used have been collected, but whether he used explosives during the attack is still under investigation, the FBI says. Mateen’s vehicle is also in custody.
Hopper said, after “voluminous media and interviews” analyzed so far, Pulse nightclub was Mateen’s only target that night.
The FBI has asked the public to come forward with any information about the shooter, saying no piece of information is too small.
“This was an act of violence born out of hate,” said Hopper, calling the shooting a terrorist attack.
The FBI said there are no credible threats to Orlando and the United States as of now and for the upcoming holidays on the Fourth of July and Ramadan.
Hopper addressed the city of Orlando saying, “Your courage, compassion, and resilience in the face of this tragedy is an inspiration to us all.”
The chief of the Orlando Police Department, John Mina, said hundreds of police officers and members of the SWAT team have undergone stress management debriefings.
“They stood toe to toe, face to face with a mass murderer,” said Mina.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said many people have reached out to offer help.
Scott has spoken with family members of the those who lost their lives in the shooting. He said he spoke to a mother who talked to her son before he bled to death, and to a victim who was concerned about going back to work after the attack.
The governor said the Pulse shooting is an “attack on the gay community, attack on the Latino community,” a terror act against the city of Orlando, and the way of life.
He added that the state, city and country are resilient, and that ISIS must be destroyed.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said the attack could have been prevented and urged the public, “if you see something, say something.”
“This is the time for us to come together,” said Jacobs about the upcoming funerals for the victims.
“Enough is enough. We will not tolerate it.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the type of rifle that was used in the attack.