Clubgoers at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., have spoken to news outlets claiming that Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people at the nightclub early Sunday morning (June 12), was a gay man.
James Van Horn, a frequent visitor of Pulse, said that Mateen was practically a regular visitor of the club as well.
“Sometimes he would be there for a few weeks at a time and maybe on the weekends and then you wouldn’t see him for a little while, then you’d see him again and that’s the way it kind of went,” he told ABC News. Another clubgoer, Ty Smith, said that sometimes, Mateen would sit alone and drink, and sometimes, he would get “so drunk he was loud and belligerent.”
A former police academy classmate of Mateen’s told the Palm Beach Post that the 29-year-old man asked him out on a date once, but he declined. He said he wanted to fit in with other gay men, but it was difficult for him because he was “always socially awkward.”
At one point, Mateen was married to a woman named Sitora Yusufiy, who split up with him in 2009 after she discovered he was unstable and abusive. In an interview with a Brazilian television station, Yusufiy’s new boyfriend said that she described Mateen as someone who had “gay tendencies,” and that his father called him gay several times. Reports also reveal that Mateen was a member of the gay dating apps Grindr and Jackd.
According to Mateen’s father, he was angered after seeing two men kissing a few months ago, which may have prompted the deadly attack.