"America is basically a place where people can be free, be whoever they are. Here in Florida, particularly, they're very welcoming to the gay community," Rivera, 72, explained. "Whatever floats your boat it's fine with most people in Florida. [But] you have this one hateful individual, this terrorist, this radical Islamic extremist, who chooses this target, feeling that he is religiously justified. It makes me sick."
The American-born gunman, Omar Mateen, reportedly pledged allegiance to the terrorist group ISIS in a 9-1-1 call he made during his attack, according to CNN. Mateen, whose assault was ended when he was killed by police after a three-hour stand-off, reportedly carried out the attack with an assault rifle and a hand gun.
The veteran TV personality recounted hearing about the shooting early Sunday. "I got a call this morning… It was the New York desk saying there was a mass murder in a nightclub," Rivera recalled. "My first thought, it was a gangster rap, hip hop-related [incident]."
"I know what that feels like to be a parent worrying about your child being attacked by these monsters, by these savages and to have it happen right here at home, to have it happen so close among us is really almost more than you can bear," Rivera continued, before warning, " Self-starting, spontaneously combusting, ISIS-inspired Islamic extremist terrorism – it’s coming to a town near you."