Fire at Orlando gunman’s mosque investigated as arson

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Authorities in Florida are investigating a fire at a mosque where the Orlando nightclub gunman worshipped as a possible case of arson.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that it is investigating the fire at the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, where a blaze broke out shortly after midnight.

{mosads}An official with the sheriff’s office declined to speculate on the motive but said the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was in the back of authorities’ minds.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents are among the federal officials assisting with the investigation, according to a statement on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

“A fire at any place of worship is alarming, regardless of the circumstances,” the sheriff’s office said.

The mosque was unoccupied at the time of the fire, according to officials. They said video showed someone approaching the building moments before a flash was seen and a fire started.
Omar Mateen, the gunman at the Pulse nightclub in June who shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others, attended the mosque. He prayed there two days before the Orlando shooting, according to The Washington Post.
The mosque had an Eid prayer scheduled Monday at 9 a.m., according to its Facebook page, which instructed those who wanted to pray to visit another location.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that last night around midnight, there was an arson attack on our Mosque,” it said in its statement. “Please keep us in your Du’as and prayers.”

Tags Omar Mateen Orlando shooting

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