According to witnesses, Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter who killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse, was a regular at the club.
A married couple who frequented Pulse told the Canadian Press
that Mateen was in fact a repeat visitor. “It’s the same guy,” said Chris Callen to the Canadian Press. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
Callen's partner, Ty Smith, also said he’d seen Mateen being escorted out of Pulse because of overintoxication on multiple occasions. “[He’d get] really, really drunk. ... He couldn’t drink when he was at home – around his wife or family," said Smith to the Canadian Press. "His father was really strict. ... He used to bitch about it.”
Mateen was married at least once, to a woman named Sitora Yusufiy, who said he was unstable and abusive during their brief marriage. Unconfirmed reports have emerged that his second wife left him in 2015.
Both Callen and Smith told the Canadian Press they stopped speaking to Mateen after someone made a religious joke and he threatened them with a knife. “He ended up pulling a knife. He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out,” said Callen.
The Orlando Sentinel
also reported that at least four other clubgoers at Pulse claim to have seen Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times.
Even though Mateen's father told reporters hours after the massacre that his son had recently been angered by the sight of two men kissing in Miami, initial reports indicated that Mateen was mostly driven by religious motives. He had already been investigated by the FBI twice for possible links to extremists in 2013 and 2014, and he also placed a call to 911 during the attack on Pulse to pledge his allegiance to ISIS.
Besides Pulse, Mateen had many encounters with the gay community and reportedly even chatted with gay men online. One man, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times
that he interacted with Mateen on the gay dating app Jack’d for almost a year.
Also, one of Mateen's former classmates told the Palm Beach Post
that he asked him on a date when they were both students at the Indian River Community College police academy in 2006. “We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” he said to the Post.
ISIS has since accepted Mateen's pledge of loyalty, but with this new info, combined with their firm stance against homosexuality, they might wish that they hadn't.
It's also worth noting that the Pulse shooting was not only the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, it was also the largest massacre of gay people in American history
, and despite this Florida Gov. Rick Scott still hasn't uttered the words "gay" or "LGBT."