Orlando gunman Omar Mateen investigated twice by FBI

The FBI identifies Omar Mateen as the gunman in the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Image Courtesy: Orlando Police Department.

The FBI said 29-year-old Omar Mateen, the man behind the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, was under investigation for ties to the first American suicide bomber in Syria who was also from Fort Pierce.

The FBI said Mateen, an American citizen born in New York, had been on their radar twice.

The first time came in 2013 when he reportedly made inflammatory comments to co-workers, alleging possible terrorist ties.

The FBI said it conducted a thorough investigation through interviews, and checks of records and surveillance video. Investigators also questioned Mateen twice during that initial probe.

The FBI closed the investigation after being unable to verify the substance of Mateen's reported comments.

Mateen resurfaced on the FBI's radar a year later due to possible ties to Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, known as the first American suicide bomber in Syria.

The FBI said it determined the connection between Mateen and Abu Salha to be "minimal" and not a "substantive relationship or threat at that time."

Mateen was from Fort Pierce. Investigators evacuated a complex where he reportedly lived in Fort Pierce.

A home with possible ties to the investigation is also being searched in Port St. Lucie.

The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation which Gov. Rick Scott called an act of terrorism.

Sunday's shooting left 50 people dead and more than 50 people hospitalized.

Mateen was killed in a gun battle with Orlando Police. The FBI says Mateen bought at least two firearms legally within the last week.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off