The FBI has not yet found evidence suggesting that the Orlando shooting that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub on June 12 was a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, the Washington Post reports.
Citing unnamed law enforcement sources, the Post writes that despite the identities of those targeted, the killer’s history of homophobic remarks, and claims from multiples sources that shooter Omar Mateen used gay dating apps, the shooter’s motives remain unclear.
“While there can be no denying the significant impact on the gay community, the investigation hasn’t revealed that he targeted Pulse because it was a gay club,” a U.S. law enforcement official told the Washington Post.
Unlike some mass murderers, Mateen didn’t leave behind a manifesto detailing his motivations. Instead, investigators have been conducting interviews with people who knew him and scouring his computer and other electronic media. So far, nothing has turned up to indicate Pulse was targeted because it’s a gay club. And they haven’t found signs he covered up his digital tracks.
Officials also noted that while he pledged alliance to the leader of The Daesh (also known as ISIS) in his 911 call, he didn’t make any homophobic comments during the attack, according to witnesses.
Orlando City Councilwoman Patty Sheehan, who is openly gay, told the Post that while the motivation for the attack is less important than restoring a sense of security to the local community, she believes the national conversation has gone off course.
“They said, ‘We’re not going to talk about guns, and we’re not going to talk about gays; this is an attack on all Americans,’ ” Sheehan said. “That’s what they want the narrative to be, and that’s nonsense. We need to have hate crimes on the books for LGBT, and we need weapons of war off our streets.”
While some sources claim to have interacted with Mateen on gay dating apps, or even hooked up with him in person, and multiple patrons reported that they had seen Mateen at the Pulse nightclub more than once, the FBI says it hasn’t found any evidence he was gay either.