By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Sunday, June 12, 2016, a first generation American of Afghan descent, Omar Sadiqqui Mateen attacked a popular Orlando gay men’s club at around 2:00 AM. In the carnage that followed, at least 50 people were killed, including Mateen, and another 53 were wounded. A number of Alabama’s leaders commented on the Sunday morning attack in Orlando.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said on Twitter that he is praying for the families of the victims who died, and for the recovery of those who were wounded in the tragic shooting in FL.
US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said, “I’m deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy in Orlando. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “The tragedy in Orlando is a strike at every American. Our hearts go out to the wounded and their families, but most especially to the family and loved ones of all who were killed. There is no room for hate in America, and this ugly crime is the result of a coward following his own hate. It doesn’t matter what the source of that hate was – it was and is an affront to God himself.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said, “I’m horrified and heartbroken by the terrorist attack in Orlando. I’m praying for the victims and their families, and I ask others to send prayers of comfort and healing for everyone affected.”
Gov. Bentley said in a statement, “The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has been briefed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, regarding the tragedy in Orlando. The act of terror appears at this hour to be an isolated incident with no known immediate threats. However, Alabamians should be on alert, especially when attending large mass gatherings throughout the state. As always, if you see something, say something. Report anything suspicious to the Alabama Fusion Center. ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler is receiving regular briefings as the situation unfolds.”
Rep. Roby continued, “This is the worst terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. Though reports on the killer’s ties to specific groups still coming in, we must fully dispel the notion that our struggle against radical Islamic terrorism is solely an overseas fight. That fight is here in the Homeland, and all American leaders must come to grips with it.”
Congressman Gary Palmer said in a statement, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the act of terror in Orlando, their families and the first responders. It is clear the fight against terror has reached the Homeland, but we as Americans cannot give in to terror. Instead, we must stand together and defend the safety of our nation against those who wish to do us harm.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said in his own statement, “Latest reports are that the Orlando mass murderer was an Islamic, and the gay bar was a gun-free zone. Notice that we have never seen an Islamic lone gunman shooting up a biker bar.”
State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said, “I see where ISIS is taking credit for the massacre in Orlando. This one will be hard for Obama to blame on workplace violence. We must stop this evil. Praying for America.”
According to early reports, the shooter engaged a police officer outside the club and then shot his way inside and took hostages. Mateen called 911 and swore allegiance to the ISIS leader. When the SWAT team arrived he then engaged in a firefight with them until he was finally killed by the officers. Mateen was reportedly a resident of Port St. Lucie, Florida.
In a statement with reporters President Obama attacked America’s easy access to guns and condemned hatred and bigotry. He did not mention Islamic extremism.
This is the largest mass shooting in American history.
Gov. Bentley said, “The taking of innocent lives is always a hate crime, and any act of terror is a threat to everyone’s security. Alabamians are strong in love and in faith, and I ask the people of our state to pray for the Orlando families, for law enforcement and, yes, for our enemies. We remain diligent in protecting the safety and security of all Alabamians.”