President Obama said Monday that there is “no clear evidence” Omar Mateen, the suspected gunman in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, was a part of a larger terrorist plot or that he was directed by any terrorist group.
“This an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time,” Obama said in the Oval Office, a day after the shooting at an Orlando nightclub left 50 people dead and even more injured. He spoke shortly after meeting with FBI Director James Comey, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
“Countering this extremist ideology is increasingly going to be as important as making sure that we are disrupting plots from the outside,” Obama said.
Authorities said Mateen called 911 from inside the nightclub, sounding “cool and calm,” and declared allegiance to ISIS. The terrorist group has since taken credit for the attack. ISIS has increasingly looked to inspire independent actors in the U.S. to mount attacks, taking credit later.
“There is no evidence so far that he was directed [by extremists]… no indication that he was a part of a larger plot,” Obama said.