The gunman who allegedly massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was a familiar face there and had accounts on several gay dating apps, according to various news reports in the aftermath of the attack.
At least four regular customers told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they’d previously seen 29-year-old Omar Mateen at Pulse, the club where the shootings occurred.
“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,” Ty Smith told the newspaper, saying he’d seen Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times.
“We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith told the newspaper. “He told us he had a wife and child.”
Cord Cedeno and several other regular Pulse customers said in interviews with the Sentinel that Mateen had profiles on Grindr, Jack’d and Adam4Adam, popular chat sites for gay men.
A former classmate of Mateen’s from his 2006 police academy class said that he believed Mateen was gay, telling The Palm Beach Post that Mateen had once asked him out on a date.
“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate, who chose to remain anonymous, said.
Mateen’s father Siddique Mateen, who has condemned his son’s attack, emphatically denied that his son might be gay in an interview with the Post.
“If he was gay, why would he do something like this?” he said.
A former co-worker at G4S security told Florida Today that Mateen often made homophobic, violent remarks.
The perpetrator was divorced from his first wife, Sitora Yusifuy, and had a young son with his second wife Noor Zahi Salman.