Wearing heavy makeup and a disguise, a man claiming to be the former lover of gunman Omar Mateen told Univision News
the Pulse mass shooting was "revenge" against gay Puerto Ricans who wronged Mateen in the past.
In an English
exclusive interview in New York, the man known as "Miguel" tells María Elena Salinas he asked for a disguise because he's afraid of Mateen's father and of ISIS, who Mateen pledged allegiance to in 911 calls. Univision says it can't confirm Miguel's testimony but did confirm with the FBI that the agency interviewed him.
"I’ve cried like you have no idea," Miguel tells Salinas. "But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge."
Miguel says he met Mateen on the gay dating app Grindr while he was living in Orlando. Their first physical meeting was at Parliament House, and from the end of October to December, they met at least 15 to 20 times at the Ambassador Hotel on Colonial Drive where Miguel was living. At one point, Mateen confessed to Miguel that he had a young son and wife, who knew he was "100 percent gay." Miguel describes their relationship as "friends with benefits" and Mateen as a "sweet guy" who loved to be cuddled and was "looking for love." Miguel says they only had oral sex because Mateen didn't want either of them to use a condom, which Miguel was against.
"Pulse is where they hurt him the most," Miguel says in Spanish. "Pulse is where he felt used, rejected. He frequented that disco because he liked Latinos. He was fascinated with brown skin...One of the things he said was he felt rage, a lot of rage, at Puerto Ricans."
Miguel says that rage may have stemmed from a sexual encounter Mateen told him he had with two Puerto Rican men. After they had sex, one of the men told Mateen he was HIV positive, which "terrified" Mateen. Miguel says Mateen told him he got tested for HIV and it came back negative.
"When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was 'I'm going to make them pay for what they did to me,'" Miguel tells Univision.
Miguel says Mateen would also talk with him about Islam, saying it was a religion of love that accepted others, but in his father's homophobic opinion, "gay people [are] the devil." Mateen told Miguel if his father found out he was gay, "the only way I can honor him is to kill you."
Salinas says in Spanish
at the beginning of the interview that two of Miguel's friends were part of the 49 killed at the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12. Watch Miguel's English interview with Salinas here