A man who was trapped inside of the gay nightclub in Orlando where Omar Mateen massacred 49 people Sunday morning says that the ISIS-inspired terrorist selected victims based on their race.
The witness, who played dead for three hours during the attack, told ABC News that Mateen spared black club patrons.
“Are you guys black?” the man said Mateen, an American-born Muslim of Afghan descent, asked as he made his way through Pulse, Orlando’s largest gay club.
“I don’t have an issue with the blacks,” the 29-year-old killer said, according to the witness.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 13, 2016
He also said that Mateen made several calls while he was killing.
“America needs to stop bombing ISIS,” he said during one call to either the police or to a news station, the witness said. Mateen reportedly placed a 911 call pledging his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
It is unclear if Mateen called a news station during the attack. But he did phone Orlando-area station News 13 prior to the onslaught — the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 — to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
The station downplayed Mateen’s phone call in its coverage.
“Mateen called the News 13 newsroom hours before the shooting at Pulse nightclub,” the station’s web article reads.
The claim that Mateen spared black patrons has not been corroborated by other witnesses. But he is reported to have been a follower of a radical black imam who operated in the Orlando area.
Fox News reported Sunday evening that Mateen was a follower of Marcus Dwayne Robertson. Known as Abu Taubah, Robertson was recently released from prison where he served time on illegal gun charges. He operates the Timbuktu Seminary, a fundamental Islamic seminary that has allegedly financed terrorist activity in Mauritania.