The gunman who murdered at least 50 people in a Florida nightclub early Sunday morning was a follower of a controversial gang leader-turned-bank robber who was released from prison last year despite warnings from prosecutors that he would recruit people to carry out violent acts, sources told FoxNews.com.
Omar Mateen, whose bloody siege inside a packed Orlando gay nightclub ended when SWAT teams stormed the building and killed him, was a radical Muslim who followed Marcus Dwayne Robertson, a law enforcement source said.
“It is no coincidence that this happened in Orlando,” said a law enforcement source familiar with Robertson’s history of recruiting terrorists and inciting violence. “Mateen was enrolled in [Robertson’s online] Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary.”
Robertson's school may not have been the only source of Mateen's spiritual guidance. The gunman was at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce with Imam Shafiq Rahman two days before the nightclub attack, according to The Washington Post. That mosque was frequented by American-born suicide bomber Monar abu Salha, who blew himself up in Syria in 2014, and the two knew each other, according to officials. Mateen's association with Salha led the FBI to interview him in 2014.
Robertson, a former U.S. Marine who served as a bodyguard to the Blind Sheik (see my previous post here) involved in the 1993 World Trade Center Attack and led a gang of New York bank robbers called “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” before resurfacing in Orlando, where he started an Islamic seminary.
The school, recently renamed the Timbuktu Seminary, is operated by Robertson, a 47-year-old firebrand known to his thousands of followers as Abu Taubah.
Robertson, who recently spent four years in prison in Florida on illegal weapons and tax fraud charges before being released by a Florida judge one year ago, has openly and enthusiastically preached against homosexuality. The targets of Mateen’s bloody rampage were members of the gay community of Orlando, 120 miles from the 29-year-old’s home in Fort Pierce.
Prosecutors said wiretaps from 2011 proved Robertson instructed one of his students, Jonathan Paul Jimenez, to file false tax returns to obtain a tax refund to pay for travel to Mauritania for terror training.
As a former U.S. Marine who became the leader known as "Ali Baba” of a notorious New York gang “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”, Robertson and his crew robbed more than 10 banks, private homes and post offices at gunpoint, shot three police officers, and attacked one cop after he was injured by a homemade pipe bomb.
During the same period, federal authorities claimed Robertson served as a bodyguard to Omar Abdel Rahman, nicknamed the “Blind Sheik,” who led the terrorist group that carried out the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and donated more than $300,000 in stolen funds to mosques he attended ...