During the night of Saturday, June 11, a gunman in possession of an assault rifle, fatally shot 50 people, and wounded 53, in a downtown LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, FL. This tragedy marked history as the worst mass shooting in the U.S. and the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11.
Authorities have identified the killer as Omar Mateen, 29, of Forte Pierce, Florida. Federal agents are now examining whether Mateen was inspired by the Islamic State group.
The Sunday morning after the event, federal agents with South Florida’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had joined in the investigation into Mateen, who is of Afghan descent. Authorities with knowledge of the investigation say agents have already begun interviewing Mateen’s relatives.
FIU’s president, Mark B. Rosenberg, sent a mass email to the community expressing empathy for the recent event. “We are sickened by the senseless violence in Orlando this weekend. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families,” he said.
“Hate crimes are heinous,” said Rosenberg. “At times like this, we must find the strength within ourselves and in solidarity with our community to retaliate ourselves to the norms that enhance and fortify our civility on campus, in our neighborhoods and in the community.”
The email stated that FIU will be hosting a memorial service for those affected by the Orlando shooting on Monday, June 13. A candlelight vigil will follow the non-denominational ceremony and will take place in GC 140 at noon. Viewing will also be available for those who cannot attend, at webcast.fiu.edu.
Additional reporting by Tribune News Service