- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2016

The FBI is investigating whether the gunman who killed 50 at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday was part of a network that still poses a threat, even as a senior Muslim leader insisted he acted alone.

“While we feel confident right now there are no other immediate threats to immediate area or the United States of America, we want to be certain of that before we put any further information out,” said FBI special agent in charge Ron Hopper at a Sunday press conference in Orlando.

He and others have previously said that the attack may be linked to radical Islam, but Mr. Hopper also said that it was too early to characterize the nature of the massacre, which left 50 dead and 53 injured at the Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando.

“At this point in time, we’re just conducting a general investigation, period,” Mr. Hopper said. “We’ll determine officially if it’s hate crime, or a terrorism incident or even a violent crime once we have the facts in place. We’re at the very early stages.”

At the press conference, Muhammad Musri, senior imam and president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, described the attack as a mass shooting unconnected to any network.

“We are glad the situation is completely under control, there are no other shooters that this person is [known] to be connected with, a network or other people,” Mr. Musri said. “The city residents and the visitors should feel safe.”

He characterized the attack as a mass shooting that could not have been foreseen.

“No one could have predicted this, no one could have prepared for it. This could have happened anywhere. it’s like lightning,” Mr. Musri said.

The Pulse massacre has already been described as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the 2007 Virginia Tech slaying in which a student shot and killed 32 people.

“I think as a nation, we need to look at this issue of mass shootings because we just had one too many today,” Mr. Musri said. “I think we should do something about it to stop the mass shootings that are happening all the time.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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