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Orlando killer had help — and law enforcement plans to arrest accomplice

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Police are planning to arrest an alleged accomplice who helped gunman Omar Mateen carry out a mass shooting that killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more at an Orlando LGBT nightclub.

A top law enforcement source told WFTV-TV that the suspected accomplice would be arrested by Wednesday, but authorities did not release any additional details.

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The suspected accomplice is either in Florida or has ties to the state, the TV station reported.

The 29-year-old Mateen was killed in a shootout with police during the deadly rampage at Pulse nightclub.

Mateen worked as a security guard for G4S and had hoped to become a law enforcement officer, and former classmates at a police academy said he was socially awkward and apparently gay himself.

“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” said one former classmate at Indian River Community College.

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The classmate said Mateen was not out, either, and other students felt sorry for him.

“He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him,” the classmate said. “He was always socially awkward.”

His father, Seddique Mir Mateen, has apologized for his son’s actions but said “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” saying that was not a matter for humans to undertake.

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The elder vehemently denied his son was gay.

“If he was gay, why would he do something like this?” Seddique Mateen asked.

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Mateen married a woman he met online about eight years ago, and the couple had a son, but they divorced because he allegedly became abusive.

“He was not a stable person,” his ex-wife said.

Mateen, who was Muslim, became more religious after his divorce, and went several years ago on the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

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He claimed an allegiance to the Islamic State and was previously investigated by the FBI for ties to terrorism, although authorities still aren’t sure what links he had to terrorist groups.

But he continued going to gay bars and setting up profiles on gay dating apps — and was apparently a regular at Pulse.

At least four regular customers have identified Mateen as a regular at the LGBT club, saying he often drank alone there but sometimes became loud and belligerent.

One customer said Mateen threatened his friend with a knife.

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Another customer said he exchanged messages with Mateen for about a year through the gay dating app Jack’d but never met him in person until he spotted him about 1 a.m. Sunday going into the club.

“He walked directly past me,” said Kevin West, who witnessed the deadly rampage. “I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey, and nodded his head. I could tell by the eyes.”


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Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public

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Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.

It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."

In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."

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Unemployment may not return to pre-COVID levels for a decade: Congressional Budget Office

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On Thursday, Politico reported that it could take a decade for unemployment levels to return to where they were before the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"The economic outlook for the next 10 years has 'deteriorated significantly' since the independent budget agency issued its last complete set of projections in January, CBO noted," reported Caitlan Emma. "That illustrates the devastating effects of the pandemic and underscores the reality of a slower economic recovery than the 'rocket ship' rebound predicted by President Donald Trump."

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Fired SDNY prosecutor to testify before House Judiciary Committee — behind closed doors: report

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The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Geoffrey Berman will testify after the bizarre sequence of events that preceded his ouster from the office. AG Bill Barr announced that Berman was resigning, with the SDNY denied. He was then fired by President Donald Trump.

NEW: Fired US Attorney for SDNY Geoffrey Berman will appear next week before House Judiciary behind closed doors next Thursday, according to a congressional aide

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