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As many as 50,000 people are expected to gather for a vigil at Lake Eola Sunday night. Hundreds of people at that vigil will be coming from a prayer service at The Cathedral Church of St. Luke. Credit: News13

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#PrayForOrlando

WHAT: Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History

Shooting Scene

WHEN: Sunday morning, June 12, beginning at 2:02am

Pulse Nightclub

WHERE: Pulse Nightclub, 1912 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806

  • more than 350 people estimated to be in the club at 2:02am
  • this was “Latino Night” at “the hottest gay bar” in the heart of Orlando
  • the nightclub was considered a “soft-target” for an ISIS attack

 

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Recent Facebook photo of Mateen with his second wife, Noor Salmon, and 3 1/2 year old son

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WHO–THE SHOOTER: Omar Mir Saddique Mateen

  • born in NYC 1986
  • 29-years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • Lived in Fort Pierce, Florida (120 miles Southeast of Orlando)
  • Parents Afghan immigrants, Father, Mir Seddique, and mother, Shahla, live in Port St. Lucie, near Fort Pierce
  • He grew up in a house of four children, where he was the only boy. 
  • His mother was accused of “domestic abuse” and described by a coworker as “paranoid.” His father became a “supporter of the Taliban.”
  • His parents spent years in and out of courtrooms and have been a party in “at least eight civil lawsuits since 1994, according to court records.
  • In 2002, when he was 16, his mother was arrested on “charges of beating her husband.” His father didn’t press charges and posted his mother’s bail.
  • His school records show that from grade school (third grade) to high school he had a history of “bad grades,” “struggles,” “outbursts of violence,” “fighting (in freshman year),” “suspensions,” etc.”
  • He was in English For Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes through middle school. Between the eighth and tenth grade he was “suspended for 25 days.” One teacher reported, “he lacks remorse.
  • Attended Indian River Community College police academy in Ft Pierce in 2006. He was described by classmates as “socially awkward” and “disliked.” He graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice Technology in 2006.
  • Worked since 2007 as armed private security guard for British-based G4S Secure Solutions, one of the world’s largest security companies
  • He was a security guard at Saint Lucie County Courthouse overseeing metal detection at the building entrance
  • His coworkers referred to him as “unhinged and unstable” and said he “had talked often about killing people and had voiced hatred of gays, blacks, women and Jews”
  • Married in 2009 to Sitora Yusifiy, her family is from Uzbekistan, met her online (My Space), she left him after 4 months, divorced in 2011. She alleges physical abuse, e.g. “beating her,” mental illness (bi-polar), short-temper, steroid abuse, etc.
  • He traveled to Saudi Arabia twice as a pilgrimage to Mecca, an 8 day trip in 2011 and a 10 day trip in 2012
  • He married his second wife, Noor Salman, in 2011, and lived with her and his 3 1/2 year old son in Fort Pierce. NBC News first reported Salman told the FBI she allegedly accompanied him when he bought ammo and a holster and tried to convince him on Saturday “not to do anything.” The FBI reports she is cooperating with the investigators.
  • A U.S. attorney plans to bring evidence before a federal grand jury to determine whether charges will be brought against the shooter’s widow
  • Investigators believe he made surveillance trips to the nightclub and the Disney Springs shopping complex during Disney Gay Days 2016,
  • His father said his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami.
  • FBI reports he expressed sympathy for a suicide bomber at work. The FBI opened two cases against him and conducted interviews in 2013 and 2014. He was described as an ISIS sympathizer and homophobic. He was placed on an “FBI Terrorism Watch List” and then removed after the 2014 case against him was closed.
  • FBI reported finding a large amount of Jihadist propaganda on his electronic devices. Evidence includes records of him “watching ISIS beheading videos two weeks before the attack.”
  • Four regular Pulse nightclub customers said he was a “familiar face at the gay club,” visiting “multiple times,” and “twice a month over 3 years”
  • Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, reported to the LA Times that the shooter “used gay dating apps on a regular basis and messaged him.”
  • He appeared in a 2012 video documentary, “The Big Fix” which examined the impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill of the Gulf of Mexico. He is seen in the “undercover” video cursing and complaining while on duty as a security guard after the BP oil spill (video clip below).

 

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HOW–THE SHOOTING

  • During last few weeks, shooter made legal purchases of an assault rifle (an AR15 style semi-automatic rifle, a Sig Sauer MCX, a variant of the U.S. Military’s M-16) and handgun (9mm semi-automatic Glock 17). He purchased the rifle and ammunition at St. Lucie Shooting Center on June 9.
  • He attempted to purchase military-grade protective body armor, soft under and hard over, but it was out of stock at the store. Store employees were concerned about him and the store owner called the local FBI office after he left. 
  • In the last several weeks he made several financial and legal decisions, e.g. placing his wife’s name on property documents, life insurance, etc., to indicate he anticipated his death. 
  • He attended Friday prayers at the Fort Pierce Islamic Center mosque. He has attended the same mosque since 2003
  • He drove to Orlando from Fort Pierce (120 miles, Southeast of Orlando)
  • His mobile phone records show he visited a Disney entertainment and shopping complex called Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, Saturday evening before driving to the nightclub. A law enforcement official said he believes the shooter was making surveillance trips at both the nightclub and Disney Springs.
  • At 2:02am he carried assault rifle and pistol into Pulse Club and starting shooting. Gunshots “could have lasted a whole song.” He had an unknown “suspicious device” on him.
  • An off-duty officer in uniform at the club engaged the shooter in a gun battle “near one of the entrances.” Additional officers called to the scene engaged in gun battle, resulting in the shooter retreating “eventually into a bathroom (with four or five people).”
  • Most victims were shot during the first stages of the assault.
  • After the initial shooting, gunfire stopped and police surrounded the club for 3 hours as people hid in rooms throughout the building and communicated with police and others by phone.
  • He used Facebook, searching for key words “shooting,” and “Pulse,” and made “several phone calls” before and during the attack as the victims lay bleeding to death. He made a phone call “to an unknown acquaintance in Florida” to “tell him goodbye.”
  • He called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS and leader of Islamic State. He made a reference to Moner Mohammed Abu Salha, an acquaintance of his who died in a suicide bombing in Syria in 2014. He mentioned the Boston Bombers, Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev, and said he had accomplices and explosives.
  • During the shooting, he called Orlando Channel 13 TV producer, Matthew Gentili, saying “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.”
  • He indicated he carried out the attack because he wanted “Americans (and Russians) to stop bombing his country” (Afghanistan). During the attack he allegedly said he had nothing against African Americans, they “had suffered enough.” He was reported to say, “This is about my country,” and “Now taste the Islamic State vengeance.”
  • His comments were similar to the Boston Marathon bomber’s (Dzhokhar Tsarvaev) scrawled note referring to the American bombings in Afghanistan as “killing our innocent civilians,” “as a Muslim I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished.”
  • He was “cool and calm” during his time in the nightclub
  • Police Chief John Mina said officers held back for some time because Mateen indicated he had a bomb vest.
  • The Police Chief also said the shooter did not make any demands but his reference to explosives prompted police to head inside the nightclub.
  • 5:00am SWAT team used an armored vehicle (Bearcat) to break a hole in a building wall and dozens of hostages came out through the hole
  • The shooter then came out of the hole armed with a pair of guns. During a “gun battle” the shooter was killed.
  • One Orlando police officer was slightly injured when a bullet stuck his Kevlar helmet.

 

Text

Eddie Justice texted with his mom, Mina, just before the shooter took his life. Police reported many cell phones ringing on the bodies when they arrived.

CASUALTIES AND INJURIES: 50 dead (including shooter) and 53 injured.

  • many injured still in hospitals and in critical condition
  • last victim bodies were removed from the nightclub by 11:00pm Sunday.
  • 49 victims identified by Monday evening, June 13.
  • photos, names and ages of all the victims below.

THE AFTERMATH

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Thousands hold candles during a candlelight vigil at downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center on Monday night, June 13, 2016. (Tony Rojeck, News 13 and Bay News 9 Team Coverage)

These photo combination shows victims of the mass shooting that occurred early Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Top row from left are: Amanda Alvear, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, Antonio Davon Brown, Christopher Leinonen, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Darryl Roman Burt II, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Enrique L. Rios Jr., Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera and Frank Hernandez. Second row from left are: Franky Jimmy De Jesus Velazquez, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Kimberly Morris and Leroy Valentin Fernandez. Third row from left are: Luis D. Conde, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Luis S. Vielma, Martin Benitez Torres, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Miguel Angel Honorato, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Paul Terrell Henry, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz and Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala. Bottom row from left are: Shane Evan Tomlinson, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Stanley Almodovar III, Tevin Eugene Crosby, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez and Juan Chavez Martinez. (AP Photo)

These photo combination shows all the victims of the mass shooting that occurred early Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Top row from left are: Amanda Alvear, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, Antonio Davon Brown, Christopher Leinonen, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Darryl Roman Burt II, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Enrique L. Rios Jr., Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera and Frank Hernandez. Second row from left are: Franky Jimmy De Jesus Velazquez, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Kimberly Morris and Leroy Valentin Fernandez. Third row from left are: Luis D. Conde, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Luis S. Vielma, Martin Benitez Torres, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Miguel Angel Honorato, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Paul Terrell Henry, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz and Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala. Bottom row from left are: Shane Evan Tomlinson, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Stanley Almodovar III, Tevin Eugene Crosby, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez and Juan Chavez Martinez. (AP Photo)

VICTIMS’ NAMES

These are the names and ages of the 49 victims who lost their lives during this atrocity in Orlando:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

RESOURCES

Family Members seeking information about a loved one should go to the Beardall Senior Center or call 407.246.4357

Victims Advocacy Hotline: 407.246.4440

Community Information: Everyone not directly involved can call 211 for information, assistance, emotional help and any other information.

The FBI is the lead national agency on the Pulse incident. If you have information, please call 202.324.3691

The Orlando Regional Medical Center (hospital) lockdown has been lifted. Please do not bring food, flowers or gifts to the hospitals, sadly they cannot accept it right now.

The blood centers are asking for O-Positive, O-Negative, and AB Plasma to go to https://www.oneblood.org and/or::

  • 345 W. Michigan St. Orlando
  • 8669 Commodity Circle Orlando
  • The Blood Mobile will be at the Loop. 3232 N John Young Pky, Kissimmee, Fl 34741

 

Free Counseling:

  • Oviedo Counseling Clinic counselors are available. Please call 321.244.3576 for available times and more information
  • Redeemer Counseling is also offering free services to the community. Call 407.405.7677 for more information.
  • Real Life Christian Church is offering free counseling for the community.  Call 407.906.2797.

 

Free Flights for Immediate Family:

  • Jet Blue is offering free flights. Call 1-800-538-2583

 

Free Printing for Memorial Services:

  • AlphaGraphics Orlando- please call John at 407-896-2294

The Orlando shooter appeared in a 2012 video documentary, “The Big Fix” which examined the impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill of the Gulf of Mexico. He is seen here in the “undercover” video cursing and complaining while on duty as a security guard after the BP oil spill.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington, Terrance Harris, Mike Schneider and Tamara Lush in Orlando and photographer Alan Diaz in Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Murphy and Berman reported from Washington. Missy Ryan, Adam Goldman and Jerry Markon in Washington and Katie Zezima, Hayley Tsukayama and Amanda Elder in Orlando contributed to this report. Also contributing: Peter Holley, Souad Mekhennet, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Greg Miller, Joby Warrick, Tim Craig, Sarah Larimer, Julie Tate, Missy Ryan, Ellen Nakashima and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Lloyd Photo

Lloyd Childers during the battle of Midway in June 1942

My family has a strong military background. My paternal grandfather, Fred Childers, experienced the horror of war as a combat medic in World War I. All three of his sons followed him in military service to their country. His oldest two sons, Lloyd and Wayne, served in the Marines and fought in the historic Battle of Midway. His youngest son, my father Lee, served in the Air Force and flew in the Berlin Airlift.

I want to begin by paying tribute to my uncle, Lloyd Childers (1921-2015), who died last year. Lloyd was a true World War II hero, receiving the distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart for his heroism as a tail-gunner in a torpedo plane of the USS Yorktown at the Battle of Midway. But, like most heroes, he would just say he was doing his job.

This brief video excerpt below is taken from hours of his video testimony, when he was 85 years old, now archived and made available to the public at the Digital Collections of the World War II Museum.

In this video, Childers describes in great detail what it was like to be in air combat against the Japanese Zero fighters during the Battle of Midway. After clearing anti-aircraft fire from a Japanese destroyer, two Japanese Zero fighters began attacking his plane at the same time. He was gravely wounded, shot twice in his left thigh and once in his right ankle, shattering the bones. Then his machine gun jammed.

Childers looked out of his plane directly into the eyes of a Japanese pilot. He stood up in the cockpit, pulled out his 45 caliber pistol, aimed at the Japanese pilot, and opened fire.

The plane dropped out of sight. Then the engine of his plane was hit and the pilot, Harry, told him they were not going to make it back to the aircraft carrier. Harry was killed in combat later.

Lloyd Childers as a combat instructor in 1955

Of 12 torpedo planes, his was one of two planes from his squadron to survive the attack on the Japanese and make its way back to the American fleet. His plane was so damaged it could not land on a carrier and ditched next to the USS Monaghan. Childers was later transferred to another ship for emergency medical treatment where he witnessed the sinking of the USS Yorktown from the sickbay.

After World War II, he was commissioned as a Marine officer and assigned to fly combat missions in the Korean war in 1950 – 1951. He was re-trained as a helicopter pilot and was later deployed to the Belgian Congo for humanitarian assistance in 1959.

After the Korean War, Childers commanded a Marine helicopter squadron in 1965 and 1966 in Vietnam. It was there he led the first successful night troop landing in a “Hot Landing Zone” where his helicopter was under fire from the enemy. In Vietnam he received the Legion of Merit as well as his second Distinguished Flying Cross.

After retiring from the military he earned a Master’s degree in education and a Ph.D. in higher education in order to serve at Chapman College in Orange, California until his final retirement.

He became the sole protector and provider for his little brother, my father, teaching him to be a warrior too.

Childers learned to be a warrior from an early age. Sadly, he came from a broken home, where his parents divorced when he was 10 years old, leaving him and his two younger brothers on the street to fend for themselves. He became the sole protector and provider for his little brother, my father, teaching him to be a warrior too.

I am deeply grateful for the life and service of my uncle Lloyd, and for all veterans who have sacrificed for our liberty. Freedom is not free.

Click this link below to watch Lloyd Childers’ first-hand account (7 minutes) of what it was like to be a tail-gunner in the historic Battle of Midway.

Credit: The Digital Collections of the National WWII Museum

Two Monks Parable Photo

There is an ancient parable about two monks. They are walking in silence when they see a young woman trying to cross a river with a strong current. She was frightened and asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The two monks glance at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picks her up, carries her across the river through the dangerous current, and sets her down. The two monks continue to walk in silence for several hours. Finally, the younger monk breaks his silence: “You shouldn’t have done that because monks are not supposed to even touch a woman.” The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, are you still carrying that woman? I put her down hours ago.”