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Orlando shooting aftermath: Stress counselling for SWAT team and other officers

A long procession of memorials and funerals for the 49 killed in Sunday's shooting rampage began

By: AP | Orlando | Updated: June 16, 2016 7:35 am
orlando shooting, florida shooting, omar mateen, nightclub shooting, shooting investigation, homophobia, islamophobia, islamic terror, donald trump Kathleen Kerr, of Orlando, Fla., holds flowers before placing them down at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Orlando. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Police offered stress counseling and debriefing Wednesday to the SWAT team and other officers who witnessed the nightclub carnage, as the FBI tried to reconstruct the killer’s movements and figure out what role his wife may have played in the plot.

A long procession of memorials and funerals for the 49 killed in Sunday’s shooting rampage began, with drag queens and motorcyclists turning out to pay their respects at a visitation for Javier Jorge-Reyes, a salesman, makeup artist and hair stylist.

The FBI said it is still gathering evidence at the Pulse and analyzing cellphone location data to piece together Omar Mateen’s activities leading up to the massacre, while also interviewing people who had any dealings with him. The FBI urged anyone with any information about the gunman to contact the bureau.

“We need your help in developing the most complete picture of what he did and why he did it,” FBI agent Ron Hopper said.

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On Saturday night, hours before the rampage, Mateen visited Disney Springs, an outdoor restaurant, retail and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, an official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss the continuing investigation told The Associated Press.

The official said it is not clear what Mateen was up to.

The three-hour rampage at the gay nightclub began at 2 a.m. Sunday and ended with the 29-year-old American-born Muslim being killed by a police SWAT team.

Members of the SWAT team underwent a stress-management debriefing Wednesday, as hundreds of others involved in the response to the shooting have done, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. Further counseling is being made available.

“These are some of the bravest toughest men I know,” Mina said. “No one can prepare you for what those officers encountered that night. They stood toe-to-toe and went face-to-face with a mass murderer, and I’m extremely proud of that.”

A key topic for investigators is how much Mateen’s Palestinian-American wife may have known about the plot.

An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe 30-year-old U.S.-born Noor Salman knew ahead of time about the attack.

Investigators have spoken extensively with her and are working to establish whether she recently accompanied Mateen to the club, said a second official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

At a news conference Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley repeatedly refused to say whether charges might be brought against the wife or anyone else. He said authorities are talking to hundreds of people and investigating everyone associated with Mateen, including family, friends and business associates.

Salman has been in seclusion for days.

Mateen called 911 during the attack to claim allegiance to the Islamic State group, but exactly what was going through his head could prove more complicated, with his ex-wife saying he was mentally ill, his father suggesting he hated gays, and some Pulse patrons reporting that he was a regular at the club and used gay dating apps.

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