- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2016

Donald Trump said Sunday that too many “red flags” were missed that could have stopped the Orlando shooter, and he proposed the use of ethnic and religious profiling to prevent terrorism.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said members of Muslim communities need to alert law enforcement when their neighbors or family members act suspiciously.

“People have to report when they see somebody. This man was pretty much unhinged,” Mr. Trump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program.

Omar Mateen was brought to the FBI’s attention several times before June 12, when he opened fire and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Trump noted that the owner of Lotus Gunworks alerted the FBI when Mateen attempted to buy body armor and a substantial amount of ammunition.



“Very sadly, nothing was done,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the gun store owner was “excellent in what he did.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in an interview on CNN that the gun store owner did not have information to identify Mateen because he did not make a purchase.

Ms. Lynch said the FBI is reviewing every aspect of the case. The agency had been investigating Mateen as a terrorist suspect but closed its case just days before the attack.

“We are going back and looking at everything that we did in our investigation of the killer, in our subsequent contact with him, but also all the information that we are receiving, to try and learn his motivations,” she said.

In arguing for more help from within the Muslim community, Mr. Trump pointed to a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, where family members of the husband-and-wife team neglected to report suspicious activity.

“They had bombs all over their apartment floor and people saw it and nobody reported them and 14 people were killed, many injured,” he said.

Mr. Trump, who has weathered intense criticism for proposing measures targeting Muslims to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S., said law enforcement officials should explore profiling techniques and surveillance of mosques.

“I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense and we have to use our heads,” he said, adding that Israel and other countries have successfully used profiling techniques to fight terrorism.

But when asked about extra scrutiny of Muslims attempting to buy guns or ammunition, Mr. Trump said that might be going too far. “I don’t know about that,” he said.

Ms. Lynch said the FBI would make public Monday parts of the transcripts of telephone conversations between Mateen and police, hoping the information would help explain the killer’s motivation. She said she would meet with investigators in Orlando on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to put as much information into the public domain as possible so people can understand as we do what possibly motivated this killer, what led him to this place and also provide us with information,” she said.

Mateen had three conversations with police negotiators during the attack and ensuing standoff at the Pulse nightclub.

“He talked about his pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group. He talk about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act. He talked about American policy in some ways,” said Ms. Lynch.

Echoing remarks by President Obama, she characterized the attack as both terrorism and hate. But she said the attacker did not mention homosexuals or transgender people in the conversations.

“As we know, he was in a gay nightclub. This was an act of terror and an act of hate targeted against a community — the LGBT community, the Latino community,” said Ms. Lynch.

As part of Gay Pride Month, parades were held this weekend in such cities as Denver, Chicago and New Orleans, but under much tighter security in light of the Orlando attack.

Orlando continued to mourn, with memorial services held at a number of churches and the downtown area hosting a candlelight vigil Sunday evening.

According to The Associated Press, a natural rainbow appeared over Lake Eola Park as tens of thousands of people turned out for the vigil. “You know that’s a sign,” mourner Traci Hines-McKenzie said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide