The Latest: Survivor says he saw gunman earlier at club bar


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the Orlando gay nightclub massacre (all times local):

10 p.m.

Officials say a Florida assistant state attorney has been suspended after posting a Facebook statement tied to the Pulse nightclub attack.

WESH-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1Y0cRlO ) that Ninth Judicial Circuit state attorney’s office spokeswoman Angela Starke says Kenneth Lewis was suspended Friday for violating the office’s social media policy.

The Sunday morning post slams downtown Orlando as dangerous and says the whole city “should be leveled.” He calls it “a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.”

Lewis was temporarily reassigned in 2014 after making a post using the term “crack hoes,” the station reports.

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7 p.m.

A shooting survivor told The Associated Press on Friday that when he saw a picture of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen on television the day after the shooting, he recognized him as the same man he saw having a drink at the bar earlier in the night.

His account could not immediately be verified. The FBI declined to comment and has not provided a timeline accounting for Mateen’s movements that night.

Felipe Marrero told The AP his account in an interview from his hospital bed.

He said Mateen was drinking at the Pulse bar next to him the night 49 club-goers were killed and 53 others wounded, including Marrero. He didn’t remember an exact time but said it was early in the evening.

The 30-year-old Marrero was shot four times in the back, and his left arm badly damaged by bullets. He’s currently at Orlando Regional Medical Center undergoing surgeries and physical therapy.

Marrero says when he saw a picture of Mateen on television the day after the shooting, he recognized him.

“I said ‘This guy was right next to me buying a drink,'” Marrero said.

Marrero says he has given his account to investigators.

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6:30 p.m.

FBI Director James Comey is thanking law enforcement officials for their efforts in responding to the shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub.

Comey came to Orlando on Friday to personally thank the officers, deputies, paramedics and investigators involved in the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Comey says he wrestled whether to come Orlando because he didn’t want to disrupt the investigation.

But he says he thought it was important that they hear a “thank you” personally.

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6:15 p.m.

Members of Orlando’s professional soccer team and their opponents will stop play Saturday at the 49th minute for a moment of silence to remember the 49 people who died during a shooting rampage at Pulse nightclub.

The MLS team said Friday that during Orlando City’s home game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday the ball will be intentionally taken out of play to honor the victims who died last Sunday.

Team officials say Saturday’s game is dedicated to the victims of the shootings and their families.

The team’s home, Camping World Stadium, is also where an assistance center has been set up for victims’ families and survivors.

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3:55 p.m.

The FBI is confirming that agents spoke last month with a Florida gun shop where Orlando shooter Omar Mateen asked to buy body armor and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

But the FBI says store employees did not provide any information about him, preventing “any meaningful investigative follow up.”

Lotus Gunworks has said it turned Mateen away because it did not carry the style of body armor he wanted and referred him elsewhere.

Store officials told the FBI about the encounter last month when agents followed up on an unrelated investigative matter.

However, the store did not have his name, date of birth, telephone number or other information. The shop notified the FBI after the shooting to say that the unknown man who had visited them resembled the nightclub shooter.

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2:30 p.m.

A person familiar with the FBI’s investigation of nightclub shooter Omar Mateen says his wife text messaged him on the night of the shooting, asking Mateen where he was and telling him she loved him.

The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the probe and spoke Friday on condition of anonymity.

The timing of the texts, which are part of the FBI’s investigation, was not immediately clear. Other media outlets, citing anonymous sources, have reported the couple exchanged texts during the rampage and hostage situation.

The FBI has been investigating how much Noor Salman knew about the plot.

The gunman called 911 and a television station and posted to Facebook during the siege.

—Eric Tucker, Washington

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12:40 p.m.

Pop star Christina Aguilera has released a new song, “Change,” following the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

The singer posted a lyric video of the song and a statement on her website on Thursday, which said that she wants to be a part of the change the world needs, to be more inclusive.

The song features lyrics about waiting for hope and change and “waiting for the day when hate is lost and love is found.” The statement says proceeds from U.S. downloads through Sept. 14 will go to the National Compassion Fund to benefit the victims and their families.

Singer songwriter Melissa Etheridge also penned a song called “Pulse,” after the name of the club where 49 people were killed and dozens more injured.

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12:20 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden is calling for banning civilian ownership of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines following the mass shooting in Orlando.

Biden is responding to an online White House petition calling for AR-15 rifles to be banned. The petition was created hours after the shooting and merited an official White House response because it exceeded the required threshold of 100,000 signatures. As of Friday, the petition has more than 185,000 signatures.

Biden says Congress should renew the expired assault weapons ban. He also says Congress should vote to expand background checks and prohibit people on terrorist watch lists from buying guns. Votes in the Senate on those measures are expected Monday.

The gunman in Orlando used a Sig Sauer MCX, an assault rifle similar to the AR-15.

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Six people are still in critical condition at a hospital after they were wounded during the gay nightclub attack.

Orlando Regional Medical Center says three people are in guarded condition. Twenty-three people were still in the hospital Friday.

Since the shooting, the hospital says surgeons have performed 52 operations on the victims.

Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 wounded when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub early Sunday.

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12 p.m.

School records show Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was disruptive and sometimes violent in school, receiving suspensions totaling 48 days.

Records from Martin County, Florida, show Mateen attended three schools there, including time at an alternative school. The records show at least some of the suspensions were for fighting that involved injuries. Other suspensions were for unspecified rules violations.

Mateen attended high school and part of middle school in Martin County. He attended elementary and early middle school in neighboring St. Lucie County, where teachers regularly found him disruptive and struggling academically because of a lack of focus.

Records show Mateen withdrew from Martin County High School in 2003 and eventually graduated from Stuart Adult Community High School with a standard diploma.

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Orlando Fire Chief Roderick Williams says his crews transported multiple people from the Pulse nightclub after the shooting.

On Friday, Williams told reporters that as a crew pulled up to the gay nightclub in Orlando to transport a victim on Sunday morning, “multiple people were jumping in the same ambulance.”

Williams says as his crews pulled up near the scene “people wanted help.”

Officials say 49 people were killed when Omar Mateen went into the gay nightclub and began shooting. Some 53 people were injured.

The chief says his department has a system in place to deal with disasters, “but no one expected this.”

He says he commends his crews for their level of professionalism during the shooting.

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11:45 a.m.

Paramedics who treated victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre tied colored tags on the patients based on their condition.

Orlando District Fire Chief Bryan Davis said Friday the toughest part of the emergency response to the massacre was watching paramedics tie black tags onto a victim indicating the person was dead.

Red tags indicated a gunshot wound and yellow tags indicated some other injury.

Paramedics treated the victims across the street at a bagel shop and also behind the club before they were taken to hospitals.

Davis says paramedics were helped by the fact a major hospital was nearby.

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11:30 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he’s been speaking with relatives of those who died in the Orlando gay nightclub shooting and is doing everything he can to help people affected by the tragedy.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Scott called the events of the past week “heart-wrenching.” He described listening to a mother describe how her son “slowly bled to death” while trying to stop the shooter, Omar Mateen, from getting into a bathroom in the Pulse nightclub where people were hiding.

Scott says the gay and Hispanic communities were “clearly targeted” in the shooting that killed 49 and injured 53 others.

Since arriving in Orlando early Sunday, the Republican governor says he’s also met with the hospital staff, 911 operators and law enforcement officers to thank them.

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11:10 a.m.

School records show that the Florida nightclub shooter struggled academically in the elementary grades because of behavioral problems and an inability to concentrate, and talked about violence at an early age.

According to the St. Lucie County school records, teachers found dealing with Omar Mateen difficult as early as third grade.

One teacher wrote that he’s “very active … constantly moving, verbally abusive, rude, aggressive.”

The teacher noted he talked about violence and sex and had his hands “all over the place — on other children, in his mouth.”

The same teacher wrote that Mateen and another student sang the words “marijuana, marijuana” rather than the school’s song, “mariposa, mariposa.”

In seventh grade, school administrators moved Mateen to another class to “avoid conflicts with other students.” That same report said Mateen was doing poorly in several subjects because of behavioral problems.

In a 1999 letter to Mateen’s father, one of his middle school teachers wrote that the boy’s “attitude and inability to show self-control in the classroom create distractions.”

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11:05 a.m.

A bartender says the gunman in the massacre at a gay nightclub stalked her nearly a decade ago when he started coming into her Florida bar.

Heather LaSalla of Fort Pierce, Florida, told The Associated Press that Omar Mateen sent her so many uncomfortable messages on Facebook that she blocked him.

She says she ran into him again at a park in November while she was with her young son and Mateen was with his. She says he talked about his son’s soccer league, but he still had a weird vibe about him.

Police say that early Sunday, the 29-year-old Mateen opened fire at the Pulse club in Orlando, leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded.

LaSalla says when she saw his picture on television, she knew right away it was him.

She was a bartender in Port St. Lucie at the time and says she never filed a criminal complaint over his behavior.

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10:45 a.m.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national LGBT rights organization, is calling for several measures to curb gun violence in the aftermath of the attack that killed 49 patrons and staff at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The group said Friday it was endorsing steps to limit access to assault-style rifles, expand background checks and limit access to firearms for suspected terrorists and people with a history of domestic abuse.

A resolution on the gun measures was approved Thursday evening at a special meeting of the board of directors. The organization said it was the first time in its 36-year history that it had called such a meeting to address a policy matter that extended far beyond the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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10:30 a.m.

Officials are changing the way they will distribute money to the survivors and relatives of victims of the gay nightclub shooting that killed 49 people and injured 53 more.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a news conference Friday that after listening to the advice and input from others, they’ll be giving the money from the OneOrlando fund directly to the survivors and relatives. Previously, they had decided the money would be filtered to them through nonprofit agencies.

Dyer says the fund has raised $7 million. He says 94 families and 256 people have visited the city’s assistance center since it opened.

The mayor says the money will be dispersed to begin helping people with medical care, food, rent and other emergencies.

Several other funds have been established, including one set up by the owner of Pulse. Others have been set up by gay and Latin advocacy groups.

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2 a.m.

A city that’s supposed to be a tourist paradise is enduring somber days after tragedies that include the gay nightclub massacre.

Friends and relatives gathered for the funeral of club bouncer Kimberly “KJ” Morris in a suburb as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden laid flowers at a memorial of the 49 victims.

Obama and Biden also met privately with survivors and victims’ families, the club owner and staff, with Obama telling them he was inspired by their courage and felt their pain.

A deadly alligator attack on a 2-year-old boy and the shooting of former “Voice” singer Christina Grimmie have added to Orlando’s woes in recent days.

The FBI said it’s still gathering evidence and analyzing cellphone location data to piece together gunman Omar Mateen’s activities leading up to the shooting.

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