It’s being referred to as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States since the 9/11 terror attacks.
Sunday morning, suspect Omar Mateen opened gunfire at an Orlando gay nightclub killing 50 and critically injuring dozens more.
Sociology and Global Studies Professor at UCSB, Mark Juergensmeyer says it’s hard to believe that ISIS may have been behind the attack.
“I can’t imagine that this was coordinated by the central ISIS command they usually chose something like the Brussels Airport, like something about a national security issue rather than a local issue such as a gay bar in Floria its an unusual target,” he says.
Before being shot and killed by Orlando Police Mateen made a call to authorities during the attack pledging his allegiance to ISIS.
“This seems like its a young man with personal problems a particular kind of homophobia mixed in with extremist rhetoric,” says Juergensmeyer.
He says he thinks Mateen act of terror is surrounding a topic he had personal ties to. “My guess is that this is someone how has a personal animus to gays for whatever reason I mean a lot of people have all kinds of psychological hang ups like lead to homophobia,” he says.
In Santa Maria, community leaders like Mike Coleman from Victory Outreach Santa Maria say his prayers are with the victim’s families.
“We lift up the family members, friends, anyone related to this, we lift them up in prayer,” he says.
Coleman has been a leading force in the community in advocating a stop to the violence that happened in Santa Maria earlier this year.
When it comes so close to home in the United States it really hits to heart how someone can come and actually have a heart like that to tragically kill so many people,” says Coleman.
Officials say Mateen was investigated by FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat.