Feds: Orlando gunman planned to travel to SF Bay Area

This undated file image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016.  (MySpace via AP, File)

This undated file image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, June 12, 2016. (MySpace via AP, File)

The Orlando nightclub shooter was apparently planning to come to the San Francisco area after one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent American history, according to a local federal law enforcement official.

Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and left 53 others seriously hurt inside the Pulse nightclub June 12, may have intended to come to the Bay Area to visit the family of his wife, said the official, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

Federal law enforcement officials in the Bay Area are aware of Mateen’s travel plans, the official said.

Calls to the FBI’s San Francisco office as well as the San Francisco Police Department about the plan were not returned.

Local law enforcement has been on high alert following the massacre. Their diligence has been heightened since San Francisco’s Pride parade is Sunday, and Mateen is believed to have specifically targeted the Pulse nightclub, where victims were predominantly gay and Hispanic since it was “Latin night” at Pulse.

CNN reported Tuesday that Mateen purchased three tickets to San Francisco International Airport on June 11. The tickets were for a July flight. That report could not be independently verified by the San Francisco Examiner.

Armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle, Mateen went on a bloody rampage at the Pulse nightclub June 12. He died in a hail of gunfire after police stormed the venue.

Mateen identified himself as an Islamic soldier in calls with authorities during his rampage and warned a crisis negotiator that in coming days “you’re going to see more of this type of action going on,” according to transcripts released by the FBI on Monday.

The FBI was also investigating whether Mateen had been a regular at the gay dance club he attacked and had been leading a secret life as a gay man.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeinkCrimeFBIFederal law enforcementFederal officialISISmass shootingOmar MateenOrlando massacrePulse nightclubSFSF PrideUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read