According to ABC News, Omar Mateen, the Muslim American who killed or wounded over 100 people in the horrific mass shooting in a gay nightclub on Sunday, was “a regular patron of gay clubs in Florida for years.” Mateen was a regular patron of Pulse, the location of the shooting, socializing with men frequenting the club, and used a social gay dating app to contact gay men:
A former classmate at a police academy, who requested he not be identified, told ABC News Mateen hung out with him and a group that frequented Florida gay bars while they were at the Indian River State College training program as far back as 2006.
One night, he said, Mateen asked him if he was gay. “You would be my kind of guy,” the classmate said Mateen told him.
Employees and patrons at Pulse, the site of the deadly shooting, told ABC News overnight Mateen came in the bar “on a regular basis.”
Chris Callen, a performer at the club, said Mateen “didn’t seem homophobic to me.”
“He seemed really warm,” Callen said. “I don’t get the terrorist part of it.”
“He would try to meet people and try to bump up against people and put his arm around and maybe try to dance with them or something because that’s what everybody tries to do,” Van Horn said.
Another Florida man, Kevin West, told ABC News’ Houston affiliate KTRK that he was contacted by Mateen on a gay dating app.
“When he first contacted me, he was asking… what clubs are popping and things of that sort, and what are good places to go,” West said.
The purported behavior would appear severely at odds with how Mateen said he felt about gay people, according to his ex-wife, who was married to Mateen briefly in 2009.
“I started noticing in his emotional instability, he would express his anger towards [a] certain culture, homosexuality, because in… Islamic culture, it is really not tolerated, homosexuality, and I know at the time he was trying to get his life straight and follow his faith. I guess that created some confusion between that, and there was definitely moments that he would express his intolerance to homosexuals.”
Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse in the early morning hours Sunday before he was gunned down by police.