Orlando: Dad unaware that attacker had 'hatred in his heart' | The Daily Star
02:10 PM, June 13, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:26 PM, June 13, 2016

Orlando: Dad unaware that attacker had 'hatred in his heart'

The father of a gunman who killed 50 people in an Orlando gay club says he did not know that his son had "hatred in his heart".

Omar Mateen killed 50 people and wounded 53 more in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, before being shot dead by police.

Seddique Mateen said he did not understand why his son carried out the shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

He had earlier said his son was angered after seeing two men kissing in Miami.

In a statement posted online and addressed to people in his native Afghanistan, Seddique Mateen said his son was "a very good boy", who had a wife and a child.

"I don't know what caused it," he said. "I never figured out that he had hatred in his heart....I am grief-stricken and I have announced this to the people of the United States."

He added he did not know why his son committed such an act during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The so-called Islamic State group (IS), which said it was behind the shootings, had called for attacks on the West during Ramadan.

On Sunday, Seddique Mateen said: "We are apologising for the whole incident. We are in shock, like the whole country."

What happened on the night?

The attack began at about 02:00 local time (06:00 GMT) on Sunday. There was an exchange of fire with a police officer working at the club, after which the suspect took hostages.

At 05:00 a police assault team went into the club after police received text messages and phone calls from some of the hostages. Mateen was killed in an exchange of fire.

States of emergency have been declared in the city of Orlando and surrounding Orange County.

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