Culture

The Orlando Shooter Reportedly Checked To See If He Was Trending Online During His Attack

Sickening new details have emerged about the deadly shooting that occurred at Pulse night club in Orlando over the weekend. The shooter, Omar Mateen, not only allegedly posted threats to avenge the Islamic state, but also reportedly searched for himself online while he killed innocent people inside the club. Why? He wanted to know that the shooting was trending.

According to The Washington Post, the Senate Homeland Security Committee is asking for Facebook’s help in the investigation. While it’s not clear exactly what kind of help they’re asking for, the letter sent to the social media giant does include excerpts from social media posts (and possible messages) that Mateen made before his deadly attack. From WaPo:

“America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state..I pledge my alliance to [Islamic State leader] abu bakr al Baghdadi ..may Allah accept me,” Omar Mateen wrote, according to the letter, which requested Facebook’s assistance in the investigation into the shooting that resulted in 49 deaths.

Mateen then posted, according to the letter: “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” and “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

The messages are disturbing, but there’s no clear evidence that Mateen was actually connected to ISIS in any way. In fact, according to former co-workers, Mateen claimed to be connected to both al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, which would be difficult considering that the two groups are at odds with each other. The FBI also pointed to such confusion in relation to Mateen’s motives.

What’s even more upsetting than Mateen’s Facebook postings is the news that he repeatedly searched for news reports of his assault even as he was carrying it out, looking to see if the shooting was trending even as he continued to kill the people around him. Mateen searched for “Pulse Orlando” and “shooting” after 2 a.m. on the night of the shooting, according to The New York Daily News. Mateen’s final facebook posts — the last of which reads “in the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa” — were allegedly posted only minutes before the shooting began.

(Via Washington Post & New York Daily News)

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