Does evidence suggest that the 2016 mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub was a hate crime targeted against the LGBTQ community?

Friday, June 18, 2021
By Lisa Freedland

Evidence suggests that the June 12, 2016, Pulse nightclub shooting was not a hate crime targeted at the LGBTQ community, but a politically motivated act of terror in response to U.S. intervention in the Middle East. Shooter Omar Mateen likely did not know that the club, Pulse, was a gay club, instead choosing it due to its lack of security.

In the hours before the attack, Mateen googled “downtown Orlando nightclubs” and visited three other potential targets. He then drove back and forth between Pulse and a nightclub called Eve, likely deciding on Pulse given the “heavy police presence” surrounding Eve.

A rumor that Mateen told his wife he would be attacking Pulse as the two drove past it days before the shooting was discredited by cell phone records.

Mateen was an adherent of the Islamic State group, a terrorist group whose extremist positions include violent homophobia.

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