ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the Florida nightclub shooting. (all times local):
An official says the FBI is investigating reports that the Orlando massacre shooter had been a regular at the gay nightclub he attacked and had used gay dating apps.
The U.S. official had been briefed on the investigation into 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday.
The comments follow reports and comments from patrons at the Orlando club Pulse that Mateen was a regular there and tried to pick up men. Previously, his Afghan-immigrant father had suggested Mateen may have acted out of anti-gay hatred, and said his son got angry recently about seeing two men kiss.
—Eric Tucker in Washington
The hospital treating those wounded in the shooting spree at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub that left 49 victims dead plans to hold a news conference where doctors and patients will speak.
According to a news release from Orlando Regional Medical Center, eight surgeons will share their stories from the hours after the shooting began. Two patients will also recount their stories from that night.
The news conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
In addition to the 49 deaths, dozens more were wounded when Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub early Sunday. He was eventually killed in a shootout with police.
The ex-wife of the shooter at a gay Florida nightclub says the man enjoyed nightlife, but she’s not sure if he had any homosexual tendencies.
Sitora Yusufiy spoke to CNN on Tuesday from Denver.
She says: “When we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past … that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife, and there was a lot of pictures of him. … I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived, but probably didn’t want everybody to know about.”
The comments follow reports from customers at the gay nightclub that shooter Omar Mateen was seen there regularly. One told The Associated Press that Mateen tried to pick up men there.
Asked whether she thinks her ex-husband was gay, Yusufiy said: “I don’t know. He never personally or physically made any indications while we were together of that. But he did feel very strongly about homosexuality.”
She says it’s possible he hid feelings about being gay.
The couple were married in 2009 and divorced two years later. She has said he was abusive.
Three Democrats in Congress say it was “unacceptable” that gay and bisexual men weren’t able to donate blood after the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub.
As hundreds rushed to blood banks after the shooting, rumors spread that no one would be turned away. However, the FDA bars blood donations from men who have had sex with a man in the previous year.
Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley’s office issued a statement calling for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “lift this prejudicial ban.” Quigley is the vice-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. California Rep. Barbara Lee and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin also signed the statement.
They say the Orlando shooting shows “how crucial it is for FDA to develop better blood donor policies that are based on science and on individual risk factors.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh (jay) Johnson says Republican Donald Trump’s proposal for a ban on immigration from countries with terrorist histories is impractical.
While declining to name Trump, Johnson condemned “overly simplistic suggestions” for dealing with the violence.
Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Johnson defended President Barack Obama against Trump’s charge that Obama has been too passive on the issue.
Johnson said that “I know from working with him for seven years that the president’s No. 1 priority is the protection of Americans.”
He added that authorities throughout the government continually reassess whether their strategy to combat this violence needs to be changed.
Johnson told ABC that protecting U.S. from attack is increasingly complicated in an era of “self-radicalization.” He said “there’s no indication” the Orlando attack was “terrorist-directed.”
Officials with an agency that collects blood donations across much of Florida continue to urge people to give blood in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre.
Potential donors are asked to make appointments at their local blood banks.
OneBlood officials posted videos on Facebook showing snacks and beverages donated for people waiting in long lines to give blood. Spokeswoman Stephanie Zaurin says donors are coming “in record numbers.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Tara Goodin said in an email to The Associated Press that the Interorganizational Disaster Task Force met Sunday and ensured that all immediate needs for blood were met.
Goodwin said the agency appreciated the widespread desire to donate blood after the shooting at Pulse. She said scheduling appointments to donate blood “will help replenish the blood supply in an organized manner, without overwhelming the system.”
As they got back to work after the Sunday nightclub massacre, TV’s late-night hosts faced the challenge of how to acknowledge it.
As in past tragedies, the jokesters shifted gears. Several opened their shows with apologies for departing from their customary monologues, instead voicing shock and sorrow.
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah pointed out that President Barack Obama has hosted 12 state dinners but 16 mass-shooting addresses. Noah raised the possibility that, without reasonable gun control, Obama should begin preparing Speech No. 17.
“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert bemoaned “a national script” that seems to guide a nonproductive response to shootings. He declared that love could help Americans change that script.
Conan O’Brien, while noting that he had made a career-long policy of keeping political opinions to himself, expressed bewilderment that anyone is allowed to buy a semi-automatic assault rifle. He said, “These are weapons of war and they have no place in civilian life.”
The office of the U.N. human rights chief is decrying “insufficient gun control” in the United States and urging its leaders “to live up to its obligations to protect its citizens.”
In the wake of a gunman’s deadly attack on a Florida nightclub, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein criticized “irresponsible pro-gun propaganda” in the U.S. claiming that firearms make society safer, “when all evidence points to the contrary.” He questioned the ease with which people in the U.S. can obtain firearms and assault weapons like one used in Sunday’s attack.
Citing a U.N. report on firearms in April, Zeid pointed to examples of how control of firearms in many countries led to a “dramatic reduction in violent crime.”
Office spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters Tuesday in Geneva: “The problem is the guns.”
Jim Van Horn said he was a frequent patron at Orlando’s Pulse night club. He said another “regular” at the Florida gay bar was Omar Mateen, the man whose shooting rampage left 49 dead and dozens more wounded early Sunday in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Speaking to The Associated Press late Monday, 71-year-old Van Horn says he saw Mateen trying to pick up men at the club.
Van Horn said he met Mateen once. He said the younger man was telling him about his ex-wife.
Van Horn says some friends then called him away and told him they didn’t want him talking to Mateen because “they thought he was a strange person.”
Despite Mateen’s pledge of support to the Islamic State, other possible explanations emerged, including questions of whether he was conflicted about his sexuality.
His ex-wife said he suffered from mental illness. And his Afghan-immigrant father suggested he may have acted out of anti-gay hatred.
Thousands in Orlando are mourning 49 people killed inside a gay nightclub as federal investigators examine possible motives for the gunman who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The White House and the FBI said 29-year-old Omar Mateen, an American born Muslim, appears to be a “homegrown extremist” who had touted support not just for the Islamic State, but other radical groups that are its enemies.
Meanwhile, Mateen’s ex-wife says he suffered from mental illness. And his Afghan-immigrant father says his son got angry recently about seeing two men kiss.
Meanwhile, thousands gathered Monday night in downtown Orlando for a vigil to support victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting on the lawn of Orlando’s main performing arts venue.