Man Arrested in Attack Outside Omar Mateen's Mosque
CAIR claims the victim was assaulted because he was Muslim
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2016 4:57 PM CDT
Taylor Mazzanti   (Uncredited)

(Newser) – Florida authorities say they've arrested a suspect in the early Saturday beating of a man outside a Florida mosque that Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen had attended, the AP reports. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said racial slurs were made by the attacker as he beat a Muslim man, though authorities say they have no immediate indication of any racially motivated comments. St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara says deputies were called to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center around 4am by a caller who said someone was attempting to burglarize a vehicle. Deputies found a man bleeding from the mouth who said he was approached by a man who "asked him what he was doing and then punched him several times in the face and head."

Taylor Anthony Mazzanti, 25, was arrested and has been charged with felony battery. CAIR, issued a statement earlier that a white truck stopped at the mosque early Saturday and that a man had made slurs, saying "You Muslims need to get back to your country." Mateen's father is a member of the mosque, and Mateen sometimes attended. Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident to figure out a motive for the crime, racial or not. CAIR identified a witness to the incident who authorities had yet to interview. The witness says the victim had locked his keys in his car and was struggling to get in when a man started punching him in the face and "saying all kinds of foul language."