MSNBC spoke with the father of the gunman who opened fire inside an Orlando gay nightclub, killing 50 and wounding at least 53 early Sunday.
Omar Mateen’s father apologized for his son’s actions. He said Mateen, 29, was “very angry” after seeing 2 men kissing in downtown Miami months ago.
“We are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking,” Mateen’s father told MSNBC. “We are in shock like the whole country. This had nothing to do with religion,” he added.
An officer working private duty at Pulse nightclub exchanged gunfire with Mateen around 2 a.m., driving the shooter back inside the club where he took hostages.
The gunman was killed by a SWAT team during a shootout around 5:30 a.m.
Officials say Mateen was armed with a Russian-style assault rifle and a handgun. At least 320 patrons were inside the nightclub at the time of the shooting.
ABC News reports Mateen’s parents were born in Afghanistan, and he was “on the radar” for some time, but not the target of any specific investigations.
The Port St. Lucie, Florida native was described as “an American citizen” and a radical Islamist.
The Orlando nightclub mass shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history.
Check back for updates on this developing news story.