President Barack Obama said that authorities have found “no clear evidence” that the gunman in the Orlando shooting massacre was “directed externally,” even though he pledged allegiance to ISIL “at the last minute.”
Speaking in the Oval Office on Monday, Obama said that there is “no evidence that he was part of a larger plot.”
“This is certainly an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been concerned about for a very long time,” Obama said.
The gunman, Omar Mateen, reportedly declared allegiance to ISIL in a 911 call before or during the shootings early on Sunday morning at a gay nightclub. He killed 49 people and injured dozens of others.
Mateen was born in New York and later moved to Florida.
Obama did not rule out that Mateen could have been inspired by ISIL propaganda.
“One of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam you see generated on the Internet,” Obama said, noting its influence on “troubled individuals motivated to take actions.”
He noted that it appeared that the gunman was able to purchase a weapon and “just carry it out of the store,” but warned against a debate that framed the tragedy as gun control versus terrorism.
The FBI had reportedly investigated Mateen in the past for connections to extremist groups.
He said that “the fact that we make it this challenging for law enforcement, for example, even to get alerted that someone they are watching has purchased a gun, and if they do get alerted, sometimes hard to stop them from getting a gun, is crazy.”
“My concern is we start getting into a debate, as we have in the past, with an either/or debate,” he said.
“It is not either/or, it is a ‘both and,'” he said.