ISIS claims responsibility for Orlando shooting

As authorities frantically tried to notify all the relatives, the Orlando Police Department began publishing the names of victims on a city website on Sunday afternoon. (Reuters)

The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had claimed responsibility for Orlando, Florida Nightclub shooting attack that left 51 people dead, according to its official broadcast station al-Bayan radio.

There were conflicting reports as to the motivation behind the attack. The shooter identified as Omar S Mateen, was said by a senior FBI official to might have had leanings towards ISIS militants, a claim carried by NBC News that reported that he called 911 and swore allegiance to ISIS before carrying out the massacre.

A day before the Orlando, Florida, nightclub massacre, Luis Vielma, 22, updated his Facebook profile with a picture of himself standing with young people in front of a Disney castle and a caption that read: “True friends who become family.”

By Sunday night, his profile was altered to “Remember Luis Vielma” after police confirmed he was among 50 people killed in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

As authorities frantically tried to notify all the relatives, the Orlando Police Department began publishing the names of victims on a city website on Sunday afternoon.

Among them was Vielma, who worked part-time as a rides attendant at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey theme park ride, while studying physical therapy at Seminole State College, according to his Facebook profile.

An undated photo from the Facebook account of Luis Vielma. (Reuters)

An undated photo from the Facebook account of Luis Vielma. (Reuters)

Others included Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, Stanley Almodovar III, 23, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36, and Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22.

Police killed the gunman, who was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a New York-born Florida resident and US citizen who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan, and officials were probing evidence suggesting the attack may have been inspired by ISIS militants.

The sheer number of deaths appeared to overwhelm officials in Orlando, a city of 270,000 people. Orlando police asked mourners to hold off on vigils as they were understaffed to police them.

“We understand our community is grieving and that vigils are being planned but PLEASE hold off on vigils - they represent a serious strain on our limited resources, which we need to dedicate to law enforcement and victims,” the city posted on its official Twitter handle.

Sotomayor was a marketing manager at a Sarasota, Florida-based gay-themed travel company. His boss, Al Ferguson, said Sotomayor’s partner was outside the nightclub putting something in the car when the shots rang out.

An undated photo from the Facebook account of Edward Sotomayor Jr.. (Reuters)

An undated photo from the Facebook account of Edward Sotomayor Jr.. (Reuters)

He got a text from Sotomayor telling him he was safe in the bathroom and not to come back into the club. Sotomayor texted again 20 minutes later to say he was OK. That was the last his partner heard from him, Ferguson said.

Neighbors of Almodovar, a 23-year-old pharmacy technician, said his parents had recently moved back to Puerto Rico after his mother became ill with cancer. He was the youngest in the family.

The Facebook page for Almodovar, of Clermont, Florida, was flooded with shocked tributes. “We’ll miss you Stanley. You made an impact on everyone that you came around. A good person and friend,” wrote Mark Nielsen of Deltona, Florida.

Images posted to Almodovar’s wall over the years showed him socializing with dozens of friends.

“I will always remember you,” Jeannette Molina wrote. “Your beautiful personality and spirit.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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