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Mateen holed up with four to five hostages in a bathroom, while 15 to 20 more people were trapped in another bathroom nearby, Mina said.That’s when police backed off.“Based on statements made by the suspect about explosives and an explosive vest, we did retreat,” Mina said.They have also obtained access to at least one email account, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.Nothing has come up yet suggesting ties to terrorist groups, but the official cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages.“We were doing the asking.”Mina would not say whether Mateen appeared to be on a suicide mission.But police kept talking to him and shortly before 5 a.m., Mina said, “that talk became a crisis for us.”Officials decided to enter the building, Mina said, because, “there was a timeline given [by Mateen] and we believed there was an imminent loss of life.”Police made an “explosive breach” into the building, then used an armored Bear Cat vehicle to punch a hole about 2 square feet in the wall so that dozens could escape, Mina said.Officials would not identify the weapon found in the car or say whether any explosives were recovered from the scene. Lucie Shooting Center, owner Ed Henson told reporters in a televised news conference. I don’t know him personally.” He said Mateen had multiple security licenses for armed and unarmed security work, and passed a background check.“He did not buy the handgun and the long gun at the same time; they were approximately a week apart,” said Henson, who added that one of the sales came about a week to 10 days before the shooting.“He’s evil,” Henson said, and the shooting was horrific.“We happen to be the gun store he picked.”President Obama said Monday that Mateen appeared to be “inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet” but that investigators had found no evidence he was working with outside groups.
He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he said."We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times," Smith said.
The White House announced that President Obama would travel to Orlando on Thursday “to pay his respects to victims’ families and to stand in solidarity with the community.”As of midday Monday, all but two of the 49 slain victims had been publicly identified after notification of their families. “Some of the living covered themselves with the dead.”She and other officials have asked residents to hold off on staging a vigil until all the victims are identified.“We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.
“We will be defined by how we respond.”Police responding to the nightclub attack had attempted to negotiate with Mateen for hours, Police Chief John Mina said, rescuing dozens of people and confronting the shooter only when he mentioned explosives and they believed “further loss of life was imminent.”Mina outlined the police response during a Monday briefing near the nightclub, flanked by Florida Gov.
"He told us he had a wife and child."As soon as West saw photos of Mateen released after the shooting, he said, he drove to his local police station, where officers summoned FBI officials, who showed him a photo of Mateen on a computer screen.“I said, ‘That’s him,’” West said, and turned over his phone and Jack’d log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.
Investigators are looking at reports that Mateen visited gay clubs and was using gay dating apps, a law enforcement official said. Also Monday, officials said Mateen appeared to have been radicalized by Islamic extremists on the Internet but expressed sympathies with radical groups that violently oppose each other.