Florida nightclub shooting suspect had been investigated by FBI twice

FBI agent Ron Hopper speaks with reporters
(Image credit: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The suspect in Sunday's mass casualty shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, had been investigated by the FBI twice in the past, authorities said. FBI assistant agent Ron Hopper said Omar Saddiqui Mateen came under investigation in 2013 when he made inflammatory comments to coworkers "alleging possible terrorist ties." He was interviewed, and then the case was closed. Then in 2014, Mateen was again investigated by the FBI due to possible ties to an American suicide bomber. However, he was not subject to an active investigation or under surveillance at the time of Sunday's shooting, which killed 50 people and injured another 53.

After opening fire for several minutes, he created a hostage situation and was killed by police around 5 a.m. He reportedly called 911 and swore allegiance to the Islamic State just before the attack. Hopper said a phone call involving the Islamic State had been made, but the FBI is still investigating what exactly was said.

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Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a writer and former deputy editor of The Week Digital. Originally from the American Midwest, she completed a degree in journalism at Indiana University Bloomington before relocating to New York City, where she pursued a career in media. After joining The Week as an intern in 2010, she served as the title’s audience development manager, senior editor and deputy editor, as well as a regular guest on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. Her writing has featured in other publications including Popular Science, Fast Company, Fortune, and Self magazine, and she loves covering science and climate-related issues.