FBI ASAC Ron Hopper’s Remarks at Press Briefing on Pulse Nightclub Shooting Investigation
The following remarks were prepared for delivery by FBI Tampa Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper at a June 15, 2016 press briefing concerning the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting
My name is Ron Hopper, and I am the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office overseeing the city of Orlando. I am joined today by Chief Mina of OPD [Orlando Police Department], United States Attorney Lee Bentley, and our law enforcement partners at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the ATF, and DEA. Also with us today are Florida Governor Rick Scott and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. I would like to thank all of my partners standing here with me today and many others who have come from all over to help us investigate this terrible attack on our community. The level of cooperation and partnership we have seen over the last several days has been incredible, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder and work together to investigate this horrific attack.
We wanted to take time and give you an update on what we’re doing and again ask for your help in certain areas related to the investigation. Because this is an ongoing investigation, there’s much I still cannot share with you, so I would ask for your patience when I tell you I can’t discuss certain things. We continue to cover many leads, and we want to make sure that when we share information with you, it’s not only timely, but most importantly, that it’s factually accurate. We owe it to the victims, their families, loved ones, and community to bear witness with finite accuracy.
The FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance and our highly experienced Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Team is working together with the city of Orlando and federal, state, and community agencies to provide resources and support to victims, next of kin, and loved ones at the Family Assistance Center. This center is located at Camping World Stadium and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For more information please visit fbi.gov/orlandovictims.
There have been media reports about alleged threats or attacks on members of religious or ethnic communities that could be perceived to be in response to the shooting at Pulse. Let me be beyond clear on this point: civil rights violations are a priority for the FBI, and we will investigate reported incidents against individuals based upon any protected class, to include race, religion, and sexual orientation. Any known threats or known incidents should be reported immediately to your local FBI field office.
Let me tell you a little bit about where we’re at today with the investigation. The FBI’s Evidence Response Teams remain at Pulse and continue to process the crime scene. As you might imagine, this is methodical and time-intensive work that includes trajectory analysis and crime scene mapping. It is imperative we get this right, and we are committed to staying here for as long as it takes to carefully process this vast crime scene.
We continue to seek and follow all leads about the activities and associates of the shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen. We need your help, though, in developing the most complete picture of what the shooter did and why he did it. The FBI has placed a Seeking Information poster on our website at FBI.gov that includes photos and additional information about the shooter. We want to hear from any member of the public who has any information about him, regardless of how small you may think it is, to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Again, we ask anyone who may have had contact with the shooter to report that information to the FBI. No piece of information is too small and information can be kept confidential.
As I said before, this investigation is ongoing, and we are not able to provide additional information at this time. Investigations are deliberate by their nature, and that’s because we want to be able to tell you what happened in a thorough and accurate way and to do that takes time. I ask for your patience as we go about our work. We will keep you informed of our progress.
Once again, I’d like to thank our partner agencies, and most of all, I want to thank the Orlando community. Your courage, compassion and resilience in the face of this great tragedy are an inspiration to us all.
Thank you. I’d now like to invite Chief Mina to say a few words.