Fire at mosque attended by Orlando club gunman ruled arson

WHITE CITY, Fla. — An overnight fire at a Florida mosque once attended by the gunman in the Orlando nightclub shooting has been ruled arson, authorities said Monday morning.

Several agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI, are investigating the fire that burned the outlying buildings at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, according to the St. Lucie County Fire District.

Omar Mateen, who opened fire at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 in a rampage that left 49 victims dead and 53 wounded, attended the mosque. The incident was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The fire, which started at 12:40 a.m., Monday was intentionally set, said Maj. David Thompson of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. A video shows a person approaching the building, then a flash. 

The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire. A passerby, who spotted the flames, reported the fire.

Investigators are unable to determine the gender of the person seen in the video. The person approached and left on foot.

Thompson said a motive for the fire is unknown at this time, but it did happen shortly after the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Mosque officials declined to comment Monday.

After the shooting in June, people drove by the mosque shouting insults.

(© 2016 WWL)


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