Omar Mateen and his wife, Noor Zahi Salman, reportedly went to Walt Disney World twice to scout the popular theme park area as a location for an attack. Salman told authorities that they visited Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney. The shopping district has no metal detectors or security at entrance points, unlike the four main theme parks.
Law enforcement sources first told People.com about Mateen’s visits to Disney Springs. Salman said that Mateen also scouted cased Pulse before ultimately picking it as the location for Sunday’s attack.
WFTV’s Karla Ray reports that Mateen’s first visit to Disney Springs was in April. She “believes” that Disney notified the FBI that Mateen and his wife were casing there.
Ray reports that the second time they visited was between June 1 and June 6 during Gay Days events at Disney Springs, citing a law enforcement source. These visits were during the time that Mateen bought the weapons he used during the shooting.
CNN reports that Mateen took one last trip to Disney Springs on Saturday, just hours before the shooting.
In addition to the casings of Disney, Mateen visited Pulse several times before the shooting. Ray reports on Twitter that her sources say that Mateen searched “pulse” and “shooting” online and wrote “Now taste the Islamic state vengeance” on social media.
It’s also been reported that Mateen used a gay dating app, even though his father said he was disgusted by the sight of men kissing in Miami. Mateen was also married to another woman before marrying Salman.
While Disney did not comment on the reports about Mateen’s activities before the shooting, the company announced that it has donated $1 million to the OneOrlando Fund. ““We are heartbroken by this tragedy and hope our commitment will help those in the community affected by this senseless act,” Bob Chapek, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement. “With 74,000 Cast Members who call Orlando home, we mourn the loss of the victims and offer our condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.”