The man who killed scores of people at an Orlando nightclub referred to the Boston Marathon bombers as his “homeboys” in a 911 call early Sunday morning, FBI Boston said in a statement.
In addition, the shooter had previously referenced the Boston Marathon bombing perpetrators back in 2013, officials said on Monday.
Gov. Charlie Baker, citing information from federal officials, said that an FBI investigation in 2013 into the Orlando gunman found that he had made reference to Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But he reiterated the State Police statement that the shooter had no connections to Massachusetts.
“At this point in time, there’s no belief that there’s any real and direct connection between him and the Tsarnaev brothers,” Baker said.
FBI Director James Comey said that agents had investigated the shooter, Omar Mateen, starting in May 2013 after he had made “inflammatory and contradictory” statements about terrorism to his coworkers. Comey said the shooter had said family members were in Al-Qaeda and that he was a member of Hezbollah, a Shia group that is an enemy of the Islamic State.
The FBI then used confidential sources, followed him, and tracked his communications over a 10-month investigation, Comey said.
During his attack at the Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning, the killer gave differing views of why he committed the shootings, Comey said.
In a 911 call, the killer pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and also “appeared to claim solidarity” with the Boston Marathon bombing perpetrators as well as with a Florida man who blew himself up in Syria, Comey said.
“The bombers at the Boston Marathon and the suicide bomber from Florida were not inspired by ISIL, which adds a little bit of confusion to his motives,” Comey said.
State Police said on Sunday that the shooter had referenced the Tsarnaev brothers in a 911 call in the midst of his rampage, though it was not initially clear in what context.