hate crime?

Gunman's father says attack 'nothing to do with religion'

US-AT-LEAST-50-DEAD-IN-MASS-SHOOTING-AT-GAY-NIGHTCLUB-IN-ORLANDO Christine Leinonen, 58, waits for information outside of the Orlando Regional Medical Center about her son Chris who is missing after a fatal shooting and hostage situation at Pulse nightclub on Sunday in Orlando, Florida | AFP

The father of the suspected gunman in Sunday's Orlando mass shooting said he believed his son was motivated by hatred of gays -- not by his Muslim religion.

"This had nothing to do with religion," Mir Seddique told NBC News. He said his son, Omar Mateen, recently lashed out in his presence after witnessing a gay couple embracing in downtown Miami, and suggested the incident may have triggered the atrocity.

"He saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry," Seddique told the network.

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