Was the Orlando Pulse Shooting A Hate Crime? Officials Are Labeling It An Act Of Terrorism
On Sunday, June 12, a gunman opened fire in the Pulse club, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Reports say that he killed at least 50 people, while another 320 were able to escape the violent scene. While officials have classified this shooting as an act of terrorism, some might be wondering if the Orlando Pulse shooting was also a hate crime. While it hasn't been classified as a hate crime yet, the gunman's father has spoken out about what his son's motivations might have been.
(Update: The FBI has updated the death toll to 49 victims. The shooter was also killed.)
According to NBC News, the father of the gunman, Mir Seddique, spoke out about his son's potential motivations for the crime. While we don't know exactly what the attacker's motives were, the father said, "This had nothing to do with religion," but that, according to NBC News, his son got very angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami a couple of months ago. While there are definitely indications that it could have been, based off of the father's statements, nothing is definitive.
As for the official classification of the attack, Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Danny Banks officially labeled the shootings at Pulse Nightclub as an "act of terrorism."
Seddique told NBC News, "We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren't aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country."
While there are certainly indications that there this could be related to anti-LGBT motivations, nothing has been confirmed or deemed official by law enforcement. More news and motivations will certainly be released to the public as things are figured out by officials.