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“We were doing the asking.”Mina would not say whether Mateen appeared to be on a suicide mission.

But police kept talking to him and shortly before 5 a.m., Mina said, “that talk became a crisis for us.”Officials decided to enter the building, Mina said, because, “there was a timeline given [by Mateen] and we believed there was an imminent loss of life.”Police made an “explosive breach” into the building, then used an armored Bear Cat vehicle to punch a hole about 2 square feet in the wall so that dozens could escape, Mina said.

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Rick Scott, Dyer, federal investigators and prosecutors. Sunday when an off-duty Orlando police officer at the club initially confronted Mateen near an entrance and the two engaged in a gun battle, Mina said.

When more police responded, additional officers entered the club and traded fire with the gunman."At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people and get them out of the club," Mina said.

They have also obtained access to at least one email account, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

Nothing has come up yet suggesting ties to terrorist groups, but the official cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages.

Mateen also emerged from the hole, armed with a long gun and handgun, and confronted SWAT officers backed against a wall who returned fire, killing him, Mina said.

The police chief said Mateen did not shoot between the time he retreated to the bathroom and when police breached the building.

See more of our top stories on Facebook »On Sunday morning, Mateen told a 911 dispatcher that he was attacking Pulse on behalf of the leader of Islamic State, FBI Director James B. Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed by a SWAT team and was among the 50 found dead at the site. But Mateen, who was born in New York, had also expressed solidarity with the 2013 Boston bombers and an American suicide bomber who belonged to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria opposed to Islamic State, Comey said.

The FBI previously investigated Mateen, a security guard, for 11 months for telling co-workers in 2013 that he had relatives connected to Al Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim extremist group, while claiming he was a member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, Comey said. The FBI also briefly investigated Mateen in 2014 on suspicion of watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Awlaki and for attending a mosque in Florida with a man who later became a suicide bomber for Al Nusra Front in Syria, which also opposes Islamic State. Comey defended his agents’ work but said the agency would still conduct a review.“We know that this killing is upsetting to all Americans.

Mina defended the decision to wait and attempt to negotiate with the shooter before police finally forced their way into the building. We believe we saved many, many lives."Mateen bought both of the guns used in the attack, and a third weapon was recovered from Mateen’s car, said Regina Lombardo, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Mina said he was confident no one was shot during the delay nor was shot by friendly fire. Officials would not identify the weapon found in the car or say whether any explosives were recovered from the scene. Lucie Shooting Center, owner Ed Henson told reporters in a televised news conference. I don’t know him personally.” He said Mateen had multiple security licenses for armed and unarmed security work, and passed a background check.“He did not buy the handgun and the long gun at the same time; they were approximately a week apart,” said Henson, who added that one of the sales came about a week to 10 days before the shooting.“He’s evil,” Henson said, and the shooting was horrific.

Many who had known Mateen continued to come forward, sharing recollections.

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