NEW YORK — New details about the motive behind the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., emerged Thursday, and police said there was evidence that the shooter may have had a history of mental health problems.
Police also said the shooter, Omar Mateen, had been in contact with a gay man in New York before the shooting, which killed at least 50 people and wounded nearly 200 others.
“It is clear that Mateen may have been a troubled individual prior to the attack, and that he may have expressed to his friends and associates his distaste for the LGBT community and its values,” New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference.
“But that doesn’t necessarily mean he was motivated by hate or prejudice.”
Police said Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as he prepared to carry out the attack.
The FBI, the Secret Service and the state’s Attorney General’s office are investigating the attack as a possible act of terrorism.
Mateen, a 29-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Florida, had not been charged in connection with the shooting and was being held without bond, a source familiar with the investigation said.