The FBI is seeking to determine whether Omar Mateen, the man who killed dozens of people in an Orlando nightclub shooting, scouted out other gay venues or other potential targets — including properties associated with Walt Disney World, according to a senior U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.
Agents believe he visited those locations in recent months, but cannot say for certain he was evaluating them as potential targets, the official said.
Disney did not confirm or deny reports that surfaced Monday that Mateen had visited Disney.
"Unfortunately we've all been living in a world of uncertainty, and during this time we have increased our security measures across our properties, adding such visible safeguards as magnetometers, additional canine units, and law enforcement officers on site, as well as less visible systems that employ state-of-the-art security technologies," the company said in an emailed statement.
A Disney manager who requested anonymity because he had not been authorized to speak told the Orlando Sentinel a Magic Kingdom manager told him that Mateen had been at that theme park in April. He did not know the purpose of Mateen's visit or whom he was with.
Disney referred questions to law enforcement. The Orange County Sheriff's Office, which provides law enforcement services to Disney, said in an email "we have no public record of the shooter being in our system."
FBI Director James Comey said Monday at a news conference that the agency is trying to determine whether Mateen scouted Disney World among potential targets, according to the Associated Press: "We're still working through that."
People.com quoted an anonymous federal law enforcement official saying Mateen's wife told federal authorities they had visited Disney in April and that he had "more recently been `scouting Downtown Disney and Pulse [nightclub] for attacks.'" Downtown Disney was recently renamed to Disney Springs.
NBC News reported that two law enforcement sources said Mateen "may have traveled to Disney World to plan an attack there. One source said it was `pre-operational,' meaning Mateen had not developed a plan. A second source was less certain Mateen had even gotten that far and said it's possible Mateen's visit was simply a social one."
The Wall Street Journal reported two "officials briefed on the investigation" said Mateen had visited Disney "while he was searching for targets."