Omar Mateen’s father has tried to explain away his son’s shooting spree in The Pulse nightclub in Orlando by saying that his son was angered by the sight of two men kissing. Some of the evidence that’s turning up in the wake of the shooting suggests that Mateen might have been a bit jealous, too. Mateen was a regular visitor at the club.
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The Orlando shooting the deadliest mass shooting in American history and everyone has assumed the motive was religious intolerance. If this heinous hate crime was perpetrated by someone who used to frequent The Pulse, a night club that caters to gay men, the motive may be much more convoluted.
As more character witnesses are sharing what they knew of Mateen, some are claiming Mateen was known at the club. Before you assume he was simply scouting out the scene of his crime, word is now spreading that he exchanged messages gay men on a gay-dating app.
Chris Callen, who’s stage name is Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press. “It’s the same guy. He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
Three years is an awfully long time to scout one location. That’s dedication.
Others recount how they’d witnessed Mateen being booted from the club for getting too inebriated.
“(He’d get) really, really drunk…,” Ty Smith said. “He couldn’t drink when he was at home—around his wife, or family. His father was really strict… He used to bitch about it.”
“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times… He told us he had a wife and child.”
Still, despite hanging out in The Pulse, and socializing with Gay men, and fraternizing with men on dating apps, Mateen could still be volatile. Callen and Smith were involved in a confrontation with Mateen that ended in verbal threats and Mateen brandishing a knife after someone at the club made a joke about religion.
“He ended up pulling a knife,” Callen said. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out.”
Mateen was married in 2009. To a woman. It didn’t last long, and his ex-wife has described abuse and instability. Maybe there was something more going on. The pair were officially divorced in 2011.