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tv   Dateline On Assignment  NBC  June 12, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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orlando. >> that'll do it for. today marks the most deadly shooting in american history. this was an act of terror and an act of hate. >> my son was in the club when his boyfriend ron got shot multiple times. >> people on the ground bleeding, people screaming. >> i could just smell the ammo in the air. i was like this is a gun, this isn't fireworks, we need to leave. >> the suspect's name is omar mateen, he lives in port st. lucie. >> something really horrible happened that happened to all of us. >> as americans, we are united
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in grief and outrage. >> you will not break us. we are better people than this. >> good evening from orlando. i'm lester holt and this is a special edition of "dateline." at least 50 dead, 53 wounded, many of them in critical condition. the biggest mass shooting in american history, and says president obama. an act of terror. the gunman omar mateen, stormed a gay nightclub, armed with an assault style military nightclub, opened fire and left the dance floor covered in blood. his motive, pure rate. >> reporter: it was supposed to be a night of fun, letting your hair down, saturday night had become early sunday morning, the music loud and funky.
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this video posted on the internet from inside club pulse around 1:00 a.m. last call, last dance, latin theme night was wrapping up. a crowd of about 300 packed into orlando's popular gay nightclub. approximately 2:00 a.m., everything changed, the gunman holding an assault rifle encountered an offduty police officer and exchanged fire with him. entered the club, shooting as hi moved. >> oh, my god, people are it going shot, dude. >> the music stopped, but the gun fire continued without cease. carlos ro carlos soez sar owe rosario was -- >> 20 to 30 rounds went off. the first two rounds, everybody didn't really move because they thought it was part of the music, because the music was so loud. and when it kept on going, i
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think everybody's instinct went to this is not music, this is gunshots. >> oh, my god, they're all shooting back and forth. >> patron joshua mcgill described what he saw and heard. >> it was like boom, boom, boom. >> were people screaming? >> people laying on the ground, taking cover. jumping the fence. i think the pension actually broke with people pushing on it to get out. >> there was just too many shots, bang, bang, bang, that's when you know chaos, it was just turmoil. >> patrons trapped inside began calling 911. four us still hiding, lights are off in club. cops are here, but haven't got us yet. thank you, i jumped out. there's people still hiding inside the closet, that the shooters don't know they're in
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there. the club managers managed to post this notice on their facebook page, everyone get out of pulse and keep running. if only they could. >> my son was in the nightclub what his boyfriend and other friends and i know that his boyfriend has been shot multiple times and is in the emergency room. >> reporter: the gunman armed with his rifle and a hand gun, was relentless. spraying a crowd jammed into what was ultimately only a small dance floor with nowhere to go. >> describe the chaos you saw. >> the guy started shooting, at least 30, 40 shots. >> reporter: outside in the parking lot, some of the gunshot wounded were scooped up by police officers and pick-up trucks and rushed to emergency rooms. the s.w.a.t. team entered the club. outside, some people recorded the ensuing gun battle on their
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smart phones. >> let's get out of here. >> oh, my god, dude. >> authorities made the decision to end the hostage standoff. that went going in after the gunman. officers knocked through a large window in the club allowing officers to go in and rescue survivors. when the shooting stopped, the gunman lay dead. it was too much to take in. the numbers of dead and injured could only be estimated at first. orlando chief of police john mina. >> there are multiple people dead inside, i don't want to give a number right now, but multiple people are dead inside, obviously our condolences go out to their friends and family. >> the survivors took stock of
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their luck but most of all. >> reporter: so now an orlando dance club joined the roll call, virginia tech, new town, connecticut, san bernardino, charleston, a movie theater in colorado. and then, just after 10:00 a.m., local and federal officials stepped up to the cameras with a sickening update. orlando mayor buddy dyer. >> since last update we have gotten better access to the building, we have cleared the building. and it is with great sadness that i share we have not 20, but 50 casualties. in addition to the shooter, there are another 53 that are hospitalized. >> reporter: with that, the tragedy had achieved a milestone nobody wanted. some of the newest newest victims were the friends and families at the hospitals outside the crime scene,
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desperately waiting for any information about what had happened to their loved one. >> it's just unspeakable. you just don't expect your child to be involved with something like this. >> reporter: and by mid morning, the shooter had a name. omar mateen. he's said to be a 29-year-old divorced father working as a security guard, a u.s. born citizen of afghan parents. >> we contacted mateen's father in florida a couple of hours ago, who had quite a lot to say, first of all he wanted everyone to know that the family is shocked by this, they apologize and say this is terrible. >> the father suggested a motive for the son doing what he did, storming a popular club on saturday night. hatred of gays. >> he the father, mateen the son
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and mateen's young son were in miami and according to the father saw men kissing, touching each other, this outraged mateen, he said to his father, they're doing this in front of me and my son. his father thinks this is what touched this off. >> reporter: but nbc's pete williams said sources in the community told him that mateen may have other reasons too. mateen is reported to have called 911 in the early morning hours to declare his allegiance to isis. later in the afternoon, the fbi told reporters that mateen was on the agency's radar as far back as 2013. >> the fbi became aware of mateen in 2013, w4ehen he made inflammatory comments to co-workers. the fbi thoroughly investigated the matter, including interviews of witnesses, physical surveillance and reference checks. during the course of the investigation, mateen was interviewed twice, we were
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unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed. >> reporter: a hand gun was recovered along with an ar style rival. mateen was said to have had proper permits for weapons. rick scott addressed the media. he was clearly shaken. >> right now our hearts and prayers go out to everybody that's been impacted by this. i can't imagine a family member that is still waiting to find out what happened to their loved one. it has to be heart wrenching. >> many of those spent hours at local hospitals. >> as has been mentioned, this will take some time and we ask for your patience. but we will reunite the family and the victims just as quickly as we can. >> president obama was updated throughout the day. >> today as americans, we grieve the brutal murder, a horrific
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massacre of dozen s of innocent people. we pray for their families who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. >> reporter: once again he stood before the microphone in the after math of a mass shooting. >> an attack on any american regardless of race, religion, or sexual or generalatiientation i on all of us. no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us americans. >> an act of terrorism and hate, said the president. and shortly afterwards, an isis affiliated media unit issued in statement. to the attack that targeted a night club for homosexuals in orlando, florida and left more than 100 dead and wounded was carried out by an islamic state fighter. so far no evidence as surfaced
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showing a connection between mateen and isis. those in the local lgbt community seemed too much in shock to believe they could have been the target in the latest isis campaign. >> i'm sad, i can't be angry right now. because we don't know itnoknow was an attack on the lgbt community or just an attack on a nightclub. right now, my main thing and the center's main thing is that we have got to remain strong and vigilant for our community, be there for them and help them get through this. >> reactions to the attack flooded social media, not just the the area, but also from across the country and around the world. former congresswoman gabby giffords herself a victim of mass shooting posted a message on her website. this is a sad day for this country we all love.
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we want to say that this tragedy is unthinkable, but it is not, once again a mass shooting has torn a community apart. candidates for the presidency also weighed in with sorrow and condolences, bernie sanders said this, we are all saddened by the horrific shooting in orlando. hillary clinton went further, we need to keep guns that were used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals. while trump criticized the obama administration in what he called islamic terrorism. what happened in orlando is just the beginning, our leadership is just the beginning, i called in and asked for the bang, must be tough. foreign dignitaries also offered support, from italy, england's royal family, even the vatican. but it fell to those close to home to comfort grieving
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families, to deliver the news of life and death. and to find answers. florida governor rick scott. >> there's going to be plenty of time to deal with how our society comes together. i tell you the orlando year, the orange county, the state of florida, we're very resilient. we will come together. and do everything we can to help everybody that's been impacted but also bring us back together again. >> it was just another night out in one of the country's capitals of entertainment. they came to the pulse, the heart of life and found its opposite. >> what we know about the shooter and his motive for mass murder. you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours. you know what it means. so does pat toomey. toomey got rich working on wall street. then he got elected and kept working, for wall street.
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voting to let banks continue their risky practices. and supporting huge tax breaks for millionaires, but higher taxes on working families. no wonder he's gotten millions from wall street. pat toomey. right for wall street. wrong for pennsylvania. senate majority pac is responsible for the content of this advertising.
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no one ever knows what's in the mind of a mass killer, but interviews with his family and a phone call he made just before the massacre have given us insight into what might have
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motivated omar mateen. >> reporter: omar mateen lived about 25 miles from the pulse nightclub in orlando where he carried out the massacre. since 2007, mateen worked for the international security -- had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. on his myspace page, mateen is seen taking selfies in his new york police shirt. >> early this morning nbc's tracey connor spoke exclusively to mateen's father, me.
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>> how did me describe his son? >> he said he was his number one son, he was a great son, he was a son any father would love to have. >> his father said that omar might have reached a tipping point a few weeks ago in miami. when he saw two men kissing. >> he said look at this, i can't believe they're doing this in front of my son. >> the father and son were in the men's room and there were two men who were showing affection to each other there. and the shooter became upset again and you know mentioned it and said he was angry. >> reporter: the shooter's father said his son who got an associate's degree in criminal justice from indian river community college was not an islamic radical. >> well at the time that i spoke to him, the police had just come out and said that they were exploring the possibility that there may have been a link to radical islam. he was upset at the thought of
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it and he said, no, no, no. religion had nothing to do with this. >> but the growing evidence -- one of his high school classmates tells nbc news, mateen was suspended in school after 9/11 for making remarks supporting the terrorists. and the fbi now running the investigation into the mass shooting confirmed at a press conference this afternoon mateen had been on their radar twice, but they had cleared him. shortly before he started his shooting rampage. mateen called 911. nbc's pete williams. >> investigators say in that call he expressed his support for al baghdadi, and also mentioned the 2013 boston marathon bombings and the two brothers who carried out those attacks. >> why call 911? >> the islamic base has advised
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their support base if you're going to demonstrate support -- crusader media can't confuse that as a ran come act of violence. >> mike smith is a respected terrorism analyst who follows international jihadist groups. >> on may 21st the islamic state spokesman who oversees its terrorism operations here in the united states and all over the west, says it's crucial for this terrorist organization to go out and kill civilians, so he is impressing upon the support base that it's more important for them to go out and develop a body count so this organization can demonstrate leadership in the larger global jihad movement. >> mateen's we can wife says that her ex-husband was unstable and beat her repeatedly. she told "the washington post,"
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at first, the marriage was normal. but then mateen became abusive and beat her for the trivial reasons like not finishing the laundry. as for mateen's father, investigators are continuing to learn more. as of this evening, he insists he is inshock, like everyone else. >> what did he want people to know? >> the father when i spoke to him, it was almost like he was pleading, he said i want you to get this message out. we apologize, we apologize for what my son did, we are so sorry for all of these families, at one point he described the families of the victims as his family. these are my family, he said, i'm an american and these are my family. >> and joining me now here in orlando is florida senator bill nelson, sorry to see you under these circumstances.
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i know you have been touch and spoken to investigators, also the homeland security secretary, is there anything to suggest this might with isis inspired? >> there is some evidence, the fbi as you have already reported, had on the radar in 13 and 14, but no prosecutable evidence. so they closed the case. there is at the end of the day, i think we're going to see he's isis inspired, but i think we're also going to see this as a hate crime. that he was motivated by being anti-gay and whatever it is, it's terrorism. and that's what the terrorist tries to do, to make people fear and that's what we have to overcome. >> i said it, you probably said it, millions probably said, oh, no, not again. what do we do about this? what do we really do to stop people from walking into a night
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club and opening fire. >> two nights ago we had a singer killed on the stage. you remember sandy hook, my goodness, 26 people. well, this is bad enough, but americans cannot succumb to fear. if we'll dig down deep and face this, these animals will ultimately do themselves in. >> we don't submit to fear, but do we at some point admit to a sense of helplessness that mass shootings are going to be like hurricanes, they just happen? >> no, we cannot have a helpless feeling. that's where it's so important, if you see something, say something. we have a great intelligence apparatus and if we can penetrate that network, if they make any kind of statement, then we can get them.
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but the fact is, that if it's a lone wolf, it's hard to be 100%. >> before i let you go, there was some brave police work last night and some folks doing some pretty grave work last night. how are they doing? >> they're doing great. all of them, they're right in the trenches, they're doing their job, they know this is for america. >> senator bill nelson, good to see you. we do appreciate i it, sir. >> more stories of those who survived and those who didn't when we return. prodders, shuckersers, and sniffers, [ inhales ] all giant produce is triple checked. farm, crate, and store. we're focusing on fresh... you don't have to guess. my giant.
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hundreds of people in the victim or a survivor is a matter of inches, seconds and luck. here's date line's keith morris morrison. >> they were like anybody, like
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you or me, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother. >> what was it like to hear the screams of people that were still inside? >> it was horrifying. >> the lucky ones got out. >> when i doze off a little, i hear it all in my head again, i see it happening again, i'm like oh, my gosh. >> reporter: in the early morning hours, police investigated, a wait any loved one any parent can understand, but dreads ever enduring. christine flanagan was one of them. >> i don't know where my son is, no one can tell me where my son is. if he's been shot, if he's -- no one knows. he's not answering the phone. but he was sitting right next to his boyfriend and his boyfriend definitely was shot with multiple gunshots. >> he was shot? >> we don't know. >> reporter: another mother, lena justice, was outside the nightclub trying to find her
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30-year-old son eddie. he texted her from the club bathroom. >> what did he tell you? >> that the shooter had them hostage and he's going to die. >> reporter: lena told the media that was the last conversation. >> i said was everybody all right, he said no, people are hurt. he said he has us and he's going to kill us. >> reporter: families went on social media for any information. survivors, those who escaped uninjured, understood intimately how lucky they were. some were grateful to be out of the shooter's path. >> it was like boom, boom, kboom, he was like pointing and shooting at whoever he wanted to. >> a lot of people thought that it was part of the sound effects from the music and stuff like that, but in realty, it was when i dropped to the floor and i saw
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people crying, people covered in blood, i smelled the scent of the actual bullets, i was like this is real, this is real, it's happening right now, we need to get out as soon as we can. >> politicians had trouble ho holding back emotion. florida governor rick scott. >> i've got kids, and grandkids, you can't imagine. >> mayor buddy dyer couldn't believe what happened. >> today we're dealing with something that we never imagined and is unimaginable. >> and so once again, shock unsettled the country. that overnight in a place people go to celebrate, the margin between life and death was so very slim, that for many of the injured tonight, it still is. there was an orlando police officer there to help stop the shooting, this is his badly damaged kevlar helmet, because of this, he lived, is okay. 50 people maybe more were not as lucky.
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not at all. >> disbelief, panic and a frightening realty and a fight for survivor. they share their stories of survival with our harry smith. >> reporter: it had been a great night at the club, when all hell broke look. christopher hansen is on your left, carlos rosario on your right. what was your first indication that something was wrong? >> two shots went off and we thought it was part of the music, and that's when the rain of shots went off. and it was like a mass of people trying to fit in one tiny exit and everybody was trying to get out as fast as they could. >> oh, my god, people are getting shot, dude. >> when i'm hearing, pow, pow, pow, pow, i'm like oh, no, not today.
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i was just down, and i was crawling and i was military -- i don't know. i was in vietnam, but i felt like i was in war. it took me somewhere, and i crawled out and i felt cement, which i knew i was on the back patio. and that's when i got up and started dodging his bullets. >> did you see people hit as you were crawling out? >> oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. >> they were like falling like flies. the two people that we saw, that got hit, he was actually behind me. and there was a gunshot wound and he grabbed on to me, like he felt the pain or something, i got scared and i felt like somebody was trying to grab me. and i turned and and i saw him hit. and i realized that could have been me, he was right behind me. >> who did you help? >> there was a gentleman named junior, he got shot on the right buttock on top, almost on his
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back, and that's when he took off his bandanna and held it in the hole. i got very emotional because i lifted it up and i saw it. i really wanted him to get through it. so i just closed it back and i didn't say anything. and then the other girl, her hand, it was just horrible, it's just like these people will forever be traumatized and forever see their scars from something they never would have thought would have ever happened to them. i think the one scary thing that made it all set in is when we walked away from the area that the police officers cleared everything off. there was a section for the injured people. when he walked there, they were just in rows and -- >> and not even tagged yet or on stretchers. you didn't know if they were dead or alive. >> it's something you never want to see in your life. those are people, those are
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kids, those are somebody's father, son, mother. and you can't do anything about it. >> joining me now is patty sheehan, orlando's first openly gay commissioner. i know this is particularly personal. you know the owner of the nightclub. >> i have been in this nightclub, there but for the grace of god go i. this is a horrible tragedy, this is basically one of our main streets in orlando, this is just blocks from city hall. a lot of small businesses and this is a horrible tragedy. the fact that they picked lat teen night. this is when everybody gets along and embraces one another. i think the terrorists were trying to strike at the heart of that, but they're not going to, because they are a loving community in orlando. and they are not going to take that away. you look down the street, there are these business owners and
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they are bringing food and water and all this to people. it's an incredible outpouring of love and support. >> i was watching people trying to figure out the status of they loved ones. talk about that anguish? >> i saw some of them on the street this morning, it was just horrible. and we're trying to do what we can. but when you lose someone like this, there's no words of comfort that are enough. the victim's service center is reaching out to them and they're getting assistance. but there's just tremendous sorrow. we're going to have to support these families, people don't realize about orlando, we have a very caring community. the community center is doing grief counseling and has been doing it all day long. we have a gofundme page to help
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the victims, that's gonethrough the gay bisexual community center. these terrorists had to strike at the heart of who we are with hatred. and here's the thing, orlando is going to come back, they're going to come back with love. and this is not going to destroy the fabric of this community. >> it's nature to want to try to classify everything right away. what is this? was this an attack on the gay community or was this an attack on america? >> unfortunately, both. there's a lot of people out here that i never see supporting the gay community out here today. and that's frustrating because gay americans are americans, and my community bled on the sidewalk and they were shot and killed and you know we count, we matter as a community, we are human beings, we are people. and we are americans. and i'm distressed and so sad by this, i wear two hats as a city
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commissioner, i also am a member of this community and i'm so sad by the loss, but i also have to remember the people, the outpouring of love and support and everything that's happened in community that will continue to happen and the fact that they have not destroyed us, but we have got to have, i think a discussion about this violence and how someone can get so dysfunctional in this society that they think it's acceptable to take a firearm and take out as many people as they can. you and i can't even begin -- >> that's what we're all pondering tonight. >> we can't even begin to understand what would put someone to that level. but we have got to start asking that question. these armed people who go and want to take out as many people as possible. we have got to ask that question. >> commissioner sheehan, sorry to meet you under these circumstances, but we appreciate your time tonight. >> more on this particular pain of this tragedy in the lgbt tragedy and what this the history of mass shootings
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dear fellow citizen, time spent with my son really makes me appreciate "the now". but i also have to plan for my family's future. and that means taking on debt. in a smart way. like my mortgage - it's working for me. and if he needs a college loan down the road, that'll be worth it too. it's all about having a strategy, that fits your life. so, if you have a question about how to make debt work for you, ask me.
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sincerely, brandon heaven fellow dad and fellow citizen.
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this is pride month a yearly celebration that arose decades ago in response to today's violence, making today's shootsing all the more tragic. >> this is an act of terror, this is an act of terror against lgbt people. >> she has been fighting for lgbt equality for decades. >> what was your thought when you heard the news? >> a moment of i hope it's not true, or i hope it's not targeting us on purpose. you don't want to believe that people hate you that much. >> for all the unknowns swirling around this terrible day in
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orlando, this much we do know, the killer had targeted one group of people. >> whether this is political disagreement or a crazy person, it almost doesn't matter. because attacking lgbt people, attacking a gay night club, speaks for itself. >> reporter: the awful news from orlando has stunned everyone in the lgbt community. we spoke with people gathered at the stone wall in, the birthplace of the gay rights movement in america. >> i could have been there, i could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time and i could have been targeted just as these people were as a result of my identity and it's heart breaking. >> seeing someone so sick to do this to our community, and innocent lives are lost because of this tragedy. and we should all be able to be who we are and i can't believe that something like this would
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happen to our own community. >> beverly tillry is the director of the new york city anti-violence movement. >> to see people attacked at this place, it's more of a tragedy, because that's probably what many people were seeking was safety and community and what they got was completely the opposite. >> it's supposed to be a month of joy and celebration, right? >> that's right. june is the month that we celebrate and here we are, in 2016, people still do not feel completely safe, even in their own nightclubs in their own community. >> reporter: with news of the massacre, police departments across the country beefed up security at gay pride events where suddenly it was hard to think or talk about anything else. washington, d.c., detroit, des moines, philadelphia, boston, it was just a year ago that the white house was lit in rainbow
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colors to celebrate the supreme court's decision on gay marriage. today, president obama said the attack was especially heart breaking because the people killed had come to celebrate life. >> the place where they were attacked was more than a nightclub, it was a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. >> an attack on every american. >> this action does not speak for islam, and it does not speak for american muslims. >> tonight all kinds of people, gay, straight are gathering in places like the castro district in san francisco. the stone wall in new york. >> the political success and the
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a advances that lgbt people. so many americans have embraced our pride and love of ourselves. >> they don't see this event undoing that? >> not at all. i think this will bring people out with renewed commitment that we are not done. >> i think every tragedy that continues to happen and it continues to escalate, i think they serve to galvanize us and remind us why it is we are here, these rights and privileges that we take for granted on a daily basis, the right to stand out here in the daylight and the right to even live and survive are at risk. >> today with this deadliest shooting in u.s. history, orlando joins a sad list, the very names evoke the horror of mass murder. what does this history reveal
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about the killers, what does it reveal about us? >> reporter: the news always hits you in the gut. >> then i've just been trying all morning so i can't find them. >> i'm in shock, i feel like i'm almost like numb. >> what was it like to get that news this morning. >> shocking, very shocking. >> reporter: shocking? of course, but now it shouldn't come as a surprise. has shootings are a familiar and undeniable part of american life. the settings are defined by how ordinary they are. college campuses, restaurants--and last evening a nightclub. >> i just feel terrible. i don't know where my son is. >> reporter: where else in the western world do these shootings happen with such numbing regularity. the answer is nowhere.
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they are so common place, we even have a way to define them, a mass shooting means four or more people have died. they tear at the fabric of our society. where can we feel safe, at the mall? school? in churches, what kind of nation are we, it's a question with a history. a long history. >> there's just been a gunshot. >> this year will mark the 50th anniversary of a shooting a the university of texas that claimed 16 lives. schools especially have been targets. before today, the shooting at virginia tech in 2007 held the sad distinction of being the worst ever in terms of casualties. the shooter in that incident killed 32 people. then took his own life. sandy hook elementary school in new town, connecticut is seared into our memories, what could be more innocent and beautiful than
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young school children. 6 and 7 years old, 20 of them, and six adults were gunned down by adam lanza at 20, not much more than a child himself. columbine, ft. hood, the screaming of a new batman film. the emanuel church in south carolina. >> we're tired, we're fed up with this, we got enough. >> >> reporter: plies where is we think we're state of, place where is we should be safe. these events come and they go, but they never stop. last december, the bbc reported a shooting in san bernardino, california as -- j. >> just another day in the united states of america. >> reporter: the orlando shooter called 911 and swore allegiance to the head of isis. but more often than not, mass shootings have been not been
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about terrorism. intoll rangs? maybe. motives we might never truly know or understand. >> oh, my god, dude. >> reporter: maybe this was a case of extremist terrorism, but what of our long history? that speaks to something else. something terribly wrong within our society. where a broken soul and a loaded gun have led to so many tragedies. today is surely the time to think about the victims. >> today as americans, we grieve the brutal murder, horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people. >> president obama said today that we need to do more. >> although it's still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. and as americans we are united grief, in outrage and in resolve
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to defend our people. >> this will be a year of decisions. and there will be talk about how to prevent terrorism from hitting us at home. that debate will be heated. but who can speak to our long and sad history of violence? and the question that is surely on the minds of all americans tonight. when will the killing end. >> joining me now from new york is tom brokaw, tom, we have seen this movie far too many times, even the conversations that follow are the same. how do we get off this samster wheel? >> lester, i've been thinking about that a lot today, and obviously and appropriately this is going to be part of the presidential debate. there's a lot of vitriol out there, a lot of bomb bas, the victims in this case, the people who were killed, their families and the american people for that
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matter deserve better than this. the team claim it was acting on behalf of the head of isis, it looks like he was just freelancing, also what was the role of his revulsion as described by his father of gay and lesbian behaviobehavior. we don't know what he was expose to on social media. we don't know why, if the fbi interviewed him twice he was able to get his hands on an ar-15. it's an assault rival, designed to do one thing, that's to kill people. was he so eng raged by what he was reading and seeing her that he had to do this irrational act? but we need to have a rational debate about this war, the likes of which we have never been involved in before. it's run by a shadow which group in the middle east, very clever,
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who also has their eyes set on us. all the mass shootings, in fact the minority of the mass shootings have been triggered by islamic rage, there's been so many other mass shootings in america as well, between san bernardino and what happened here today tragically. >> tom brokaw, tom, thank you. when we come back, the very latest on the investigation. and a look at the day's most unforgettable images.
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before he started shooting. what does this tell us about homegrown terrorism. >> reporter: in the hours after the mass shooting, as always, people have questions. why now?
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why a gay nightclub? nbc terrorist expert evan coleman believes the attack is a result of a recent call for violence. >> isis has been telling people, not just in the last few months or the last few years, but in the last few days, the smallest action you can carry out on your own inside the united states is better than anything you can do here. >> reporter: you talk about these soft targets and you believe that was the case in orlando. this was a target that this individual knew that he could get to, he would kill and hurlt amount of people before anybody would be able to stop it and no one would see it coming. >> reporter: holman believes it was a target because isis is violently anti-gay. >> isis would love to see anything -- isis has broadcast pictures of themselves growing gay people off builds inside syria and iraq. >> reporter: how are they
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deciding i'm going to carry out the actions of isis? >> what's amazing is that isis really has quite an effective propaganda machine online. everything you can think of, twitter, kick, every social media platform that has come to be used in the west is used on the other side as well. >> the orlando shooter was paying attention to other homegrown terrorists. >> the shooter apparently mentioned the boston bombers in his 911 call. what does that tell you? >> unfortunately what it tells us is that there are now individuals here that are becoming icons for american terrorists. there are people that are now idols for to us follow. >> one of the people involved in the boston bombings, the san bernardino couple were all on the fbi's radar at one time or another, and yet these attacks still happened. >> this is the motive of local law enforcement, who has simply been radicalized who is
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innocuo innocuous, versus who is a threat. the fbi does not have the resources nor will they have ever the resources to be able to constantly track every single person who is suspected of being radicalized. >> are we also seeing war with the larger terrorist groups? >> it's fair to say that the u.s. government and the u.s. in general and the west in general has done a much better job in terms of stopping actual terrorist networks that are directly connected to isis than the broader problem of online propaganda and recruitment. >> is it more serious than we ever thought? >> there's good news and there it's bad news. the good news is there's not hundreds or thousands of people like this, there's dozens of people like this. >> joining me now from washington is nbc news justice correspondent pete williams and joining us again from new york is tom brokaw. pete tell us a little bit about this phone call to 911 that omar
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mateen made. >> quite surprising according to those who are familiar with the contem contempts. at some point while he was inside the nightclub, he called the police, got on the phone with them and said that he was pledging support to baghdadi, the head of isis. he also went on to give a litany of recent attacks, specifically mentioning the boston marathon bombings in 2013, and the two brothers, dzhokhar and tamar lyn tsarnaev who carried out the attack. but this call expressing support for isis are wondering whether this was inspired or was he in touch with foreign terrorists and so far the answer to that
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latter question as to whether he was in touch with specific terrorists oversees is going to be no. >> we're looking at this almost as domestic terrorism, inge spired overseas, will it require a different response? >> it will and i think it's going to take the best grain brains and the best efforts of all of america's allies, and i'm keenly disappointed and that's putting it lightly that we don't have more support from arab allies, saudi arabia speaking out or qatar or the united arab emirates. those nations are as much at risk as we are, they're living in a kind of state of paranoia constantly if isil takes over. i've been doing this for 50 years, as you know, lester, i never thought this is where we would be at this stage in american life. as a grandfather, as a father,
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as a journalist, i thought we'll be able to solve this one that comes before us. this one is going to -- >> this is one of the people that was on the fbi's radar and yet this happened. does this illustrate how difficult this is? >> it's always hard to know when someone is popping off about violence, whether they're somebody you can continue to surveil, they say they looked at him twice, case closed and there was nothing in his past that 40eed he was going to go radical like this. but the picture of himself now is somebody who was a very violent man, lester. americans today spending another day trying to fathom a mass shooting in our midst. we end tonight with searing imageses from orlando.
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>> good morning, breaking overnight, mass casualty shooting, a horrific scene outside a night club in orlando when a gunman -- 3 f2 t>> no sé dónde está mi hijo, >> we are mourning, we are sad, we are heart broken. >> we need to rally around the family and the friends of those
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people who were killed today. >> and all the ugliness that happens in the world cannot outshine what's in our hearts and that is to love. you will not break us. we are better people than this. >> say a prayer for them. say aprayer for their families. that god gives them the strength to bear the unbearable. >> there will be continuing coverage of the massacre in orlando tomorrow on "today" and i'll be with you then, and lost on nbc "nightly news" tomorrow night. there's more on msnbc and on your late local news as well.
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we'll bring you tonight's originally scheduled date line originally scheduled date line spk captions paid for by nbc-universal television >> mike: here in san jose where we await game six of the stanley cup final, our attention has been drawn to orlando and the mass murder of innocent persons there. our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this. nbc news will continually update us throughout the evening where new developments warrant that. there will be an acknowledgement here in san jose, as well. turning to the e


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