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)

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

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