US Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson has cancelled his scheduled trip to Beijing following the deadliest mass shooting in US history at a Orlando, Florida nightclub that left 50 dead, and more than 50 wounded.
Early Sunday morning a gunman, identified at as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident and US citizen and son of immigrants from Afghanistan, took hostages at a gay nightclub that was celebrating an event in linked to gay pride week celebrations before he was shot and killed by police.
Secretary Jeh Johnson noted that the shooting is the worst in US history, and reiterated an earlier statement by US President Barack Obama that the shooting, “was an act of terror and an act of hate.”
President Obama noted that while no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of Mateen, “The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism.”
Obama added that he has,” directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred.”
Media is reporting that Mateen may have swore allegiance to Islamic State, however there has been no official confirmation that the attack was linked to the terrorist organization – despite Islamic State issuing a statement claiming responsibility for the shooting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Johnson said, adding, “The leadership of the Department of Homeland Security and our components are dedicated to investigating this tragedy, along with the FBI and our state and local partners, and supporting the Orlando community in the tragedy’s aftermath.”
In a statement, Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “This is clearly an act of terror that happened in Orlando this morning. It sickens me and makes me angry. Of course, this is a time of great tragedy, and in every tragedy, there is a flood of sadness, confusion and despair. But, this is an attack on our people. An attack on Orlando. An attack on Florida. An attack on America. An attack on all of us.”