Protesters participate in a "die-in" outside the national headquarters of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Va., on Tuesday to demonstrate against the mass shooting attack in Orlando on June 12 and to call for a ban on assault weapons. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday visited Orlando and pledged $1 million in emergency federal funds to continue the investigation into the attack, which killed 49 and wounded more than 50. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo
ORLANDO, Fla., June 21 (UPI) -- The United States' top-ranking law enforcement officer visited Orlando on Tuesday and pledged $1 million in federal money to allow police to continue the investigation into last week's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
During a news conference, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said investigators are reconstructing the crime at the club, where 49 people were shot dead and more than 50 others were wounded on June 12.
"The Department of Justice is also determined to do anything we can to help this community heal, recover and become whole," she said at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando Tuesday afternoon.
Lynch called the attack an act of "unspeakable terror" during her visit and praised police in the city for their actions on the morning of the shootings.
"There is no doubt that this was a shattering attack on our nation, on our people and on our most fundamental ideals," Lynch said. "But the message of Orlando goes far beyond one night of unspeakable terror. The message of Orlando that I have seen today -- and what the American people have seen in the wake of this horrific assault -- is a message of determination to remove hatred and intolerance from our midst."
"The good in this world far outweighs the evil," Lynch added. "Our common humanity transcends our differences and our most effective response to terror and to hatred is compassion, it's unity and it's love."
The $1 million federal grant Lynch is giving will go toward costs of the ongoing investigation, including overtime pay for members of the Orlando Police Department.
The FBI is leading the investigation into suspect Omar Seddique Mateen, 29, who is accused of launching the attack on the city's gay Pulse nightclub. Mateen, who police say killed dozens with an assault rifle and a handgun, was killed by police during the attack.
Lynch also said investigators are reconstructing the crime scene by trying to track the paths of bullets fired inside the club, with the hope of picking up new clues and determining exactly how the ordeal unfolded.
Also Tuesday, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said that investigators believe Mateen showed up at the nightclub earlier in the evening. He did not say, though, what the suspect might have been doing during the earlier visit or when he returned with his weapons.
In the days that followed the attack, it was reported that Mateen had visited the Pulse club in days prior to the attack and even perused gay smartphone apps. He was married with a child.
Lynch did not offer further insight on the investigation of Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, 30, who told authorities after the attack that she had been aware of her husband's plotting. She could face criminal charges for failing to report the attack to police.