DeSantis Condemns 'Terrorism' Against LGBTQ Community on Pulse Nightclub Anniversary

DeSantis Condemns 'Terrorism' Against LGBTQ Community on Pulse Nightclub Anniversary

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
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June 12, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the national flag to be flown at half-staff Wednesday to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting by an Islamist-connected murderer, who claimed the lives of 49 victims.

On June 12th, 2016, Orlando's LGBTQ nightclub drew over 300 partiers for its Latin Night—including 29-year-old Omar Mateen. Twice investigated by the FBI for potential connections to the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda, Mateen opened fire with his newly purchased Sig Sauer MCX semiautomatic assault rifle and Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic pistol, killing 49 and wounding 53 others.

"As a mark of respect for the victims, their families, and the many affected by this tragedy, I hereby direct the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 12, 2024," said DeSantis in a news release, condemning the "horrific act of terrorism against the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities."

Prior to the 2017 shooting at the Las Vegas Strip, the Pulse attack was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Now, Florida Lawmakers remember the dozens murdered at the hands of a cold-blooded killer, condemning his ability to purchase two semiautomatic weapons a week before the shooting—despite the FBI investigating him twice for potential Jihadist ties.

"Eight years ago 49 lives were stolen in the tragic mass murder at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. My heart is with the victims and their loved ones on this solemn day. Today must serve as a reminder to ensure that love conquers hate and that the epidemic of gun violence comes to an end," Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote on X.

Democratic Senate candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell echoed the Rep.'s sentiments, writing, "Eight years ago, hundreds of innocent Floridians walked into Pulse nightclub expecting a night of celebration for Pride month. But a mass shooter motivated by hate — who never should have been able to even secure a weapon — also entered, murdering 49 people & wounding 53 others."

In 2013, Mateen was declared a person of interest by the FBI after he told coworkers at a security firm that he had ties to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. A 10-month investigation yielded nothing, resulting in no charges.

In 2014, he was questioned by the FBI after an associate of his became a suicide bomber for the Nusrah Front, a terrorist organization in Syria tied to al-Qaeda. Soon after, he told his friend that he had been watching jihadist videos recorded by al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, and that friend reported him to the FBI.

Like the first investigation, the second led nowhere...it was closed.

"Today we remember that #MuslimTerror came to Florida eight years ago today, killing 49 innocents. May we stop it over there so it can never again come over here. #BombsAway," Republican Rep. Randy Fine, a leading anti-Hamas critic, wrote on X.

He referenced that beyond Mateen's suspected terrorist connections before the shooting, during the attack he had called 911 and professed his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. As the night dragged on, and Mateen held victims hostage in the bathrooms, he told police that he had placed a bomb in a nearby car and was wearing an explosive vest—like those worn by the 2015 Paris attackers.

Before the hostages were freed, Mateen told them he was going to put bomb vests on them. It was later discovered that Mateen had no explosive devices nor any directives from terrorist organizations to carry out the attack.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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