Shooter’s wife says she believes his ex-husband was “mentally ill”
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
ORLANDO, FL (ANS — June 13, 2016) – U.S. authorities said today (Monday, June 13, 2016) that they had found no direct links between Islamic State (ISIS) militants and the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, describing him as a “homegrown extremist who was inspired by radical Islamist groups.”
According to Reuters, the FBI and other agencies were still looking at evidence inside the club and on the closed-off streets around the Pulse nightclub, where New York-born Omar Mateen perpetrated the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Mateen, 29, the son of Afghan immigrants, was shot and killed by police who stormed the club with armored cars early on Sunday morning after a three-hour siege.
“So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network,” FBI Director James Comey said in Washington. “We’re highly confident this killer was radicalized at least in some part through the internet.”
The gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat, the FBI said. Mateen carried an assault rifle and a pistol into the packed Pulse club about 2 a.m. Sunday and started shooting, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53, officials said.
However, it has been revealed that Mateen called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, according to a U.S. official.
Mateen’s ex-wife said during an interview said that she thinks he was “mentally ill.”
Now, at the direction of Franklin Graham, crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to Orlando following the terror attack on the Pulse nightclub.
According to a news release, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will come alongside local churches in offering emotional and spiritual care to the many who were affected by the attack, from those who were in the club at the time of the shooting to residents of the greater Orlando community.
“We grieve for the victims, for the families who lost loved ones, and for the survivors who will carry physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives following this horrific attack,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
“The trauma from a terror attack – especially one on such a large scale – impacts the entire city and beyond. People felt safe, and now that security is shattered. We’ll be there to offer hope and comfort as the community adjusts to a new normal.”
The response in Orlando marks the ministry’s fifth deployment in the last nine months related to shootings or terror attacks. Crisis-trained chaplains have worked in Roseburg, Ore. (Umpqua Community College), and San Bernardino, Calif., domestically, and in Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, internationally.
Other notable Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployments related to shootings include Virginia Tech (2007), Northern Illinois University (2008), Aurora, Colo. (2012), and Newtown, Conn. (2012).
For more information, please contact: Erik Ogren, (704) 401-2117, email@example.com.
NRB President and members respond to the Orlando massacre
Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, said, “The membership of the National Religious Broadcasters and I are heartbroken by the massacre that took the lives of at least 50 Americans yesterday in Orlando. Every person slain was an image-bearer of God, worthy of dignity and respect. We weep with those whose friends or family members have been taken from them, for those who have been injured, and for families who will never be the same.
“We also pray for the churches in the Orlando area – and those beyond who will be ministering to those affected by this tragedy – as they seek to minister love and care in the wake of this horrendous act of hatred. We also pray for first responders who administered medical, emotional, and spiritual care to the victims.
“According to reports, the perpetrator of this evil act had allied himself with the mission of the Islamic State, and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. In the days and weeks to come, more will be learned about the exact nature of his devotion to this cause. Nevertheless, we know enough today to note with great concern that terrorism in the name of Islam has again murdered and maimed on a horrific scale. Islamic terrorism will not tolerate any people, nation, religion, philosophy, or lifestyle that will not submit. The United States and her allies must match that resolve with a greater commitment to defeat Islamic terrorism.”
He added: “In the midst of such tragedies, we cry out to our Lord Jesus Christ to bring justice and pray for a great work of the Holy Spirit that will see such darkened hearts eternally transformed by the grace of God. Maranatha.”
Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the son of evangelist, Billy Graham, said, “My prayers are with the many victims and family members who lost loved ones in the senseless shooting—now being called an act of terrorism—at a gay nightclub in Orlando early this morning. Life is precious, and we only have one chance to live our lives here on this earth.”
Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary stated, “Our hearts and our prayers go out to the loved ones of those who were killed and wounded in what appears to be a terrible act of Islamic terrorism.”
Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that those who were “slaughtered in cold blood,” were “created in the image of God.” He added, “Families who were waiting to see their loved ones are finding out today that they will never see them again in this life. That ought to drive us to mourn.”
Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), said, “Today, we mourn the deaths of innocent Americans who were murdered by an Islamic terrorist in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The attack appears to be well planned and specifically targeted against the gay community. There is no justification for this terrible act of violence.
“All people, regardless of sexual orientation, have the absolute right to be secure and live safely in the United States of America. We at CBN strongly condemn this act of violence and offer our condolences to the loved ones of all those killed or injured. We also commend the Orlando Police and the FBI for their swift response, ending this nightmare and saving the lives of those they could.”
Finally, Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association, said: “This is a time when a nation must come together, reminding that God loves all people, and all are His creation, made in His own image. All lives are precious, and because the American Family Association is known for its commitment to family values, we deeply mourn when lives are lost due to senseless violence. We know there are millions praying for the families and friends of the victims, and we ask all to join together with them and for those who are wounded, that a healing of both the body and the community will be reality.”
The NRB contact is: Contact: James A. Smith Sr., Phone: 202-999-8714, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo caption: 1) Orlando police after the deadly shooting. 2) Mass killer, Omar Mateen, on Social Media. 3) Billy Graham Rapid Response team member brings comfort at a previous deployment. 4) Franklin and Billy Graham. 5) Couple hold signs. 5) Norma and Dan Wooding in Hollywood during a reporting assignment for ANS. (Bryan Seltzer).
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding. He is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren, who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and the author or co-author of some 45 books, the latest is Mary My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary (http://marythebook.com). Dan has a weekly radio show and two TV programs all based in Southern California. Before moving to the US, Dan was a senior reporter with two of the UK’s largest circulation newspapers and was also an interviewer for BBC Radio One in London.
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