New witnesses claim to have seen Omar Mateen at Pulse Nightclub on numerous occasions, with others interacting with him on a local gay dating app
According to emerging reports, the shooter who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando was a regular at the LGBT venue.
In what has been the largest mass shooting in recent American history, as well as the biggest killing of LGBT people since the Holocaust, Mateen stormed the well-known gay bar with firearms on Sunday evening. He died after a battle with police. Witnesses have come forward to claim that he had been visiting the bar for “years”, with one man asserting that he had been messaging him on a gay dating app.
“It’s the same guy,” Chris Callen, who’s drag name is Kristina McLaughlin, told CJAD. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
Another witness said he had seen Mateen thrown out of the club for being too drunk in the past. “(He’d get) really, really drunk... 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,” Smith related to CJAD.
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Smith said he and four other clubbers had spotted Mateen at Pulse numerous times, usually alone, “so drunk he was loud and belligerent”. He claimed that on occasion he spoke about his father, wife and child.
Callen and Smith told CJAD that Mateen had at one stage threatened them with a knife when they joked about religion, after which they stopped speaking with him. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out,” said Callen.
In a statement to NBC news, the shooter’s father said he had been “angered” in the past when he witnessed two men kissing. "We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry," Seddique Mateen said. "They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that'. And then we were in the men's bathroom and men were kissing each other."
MSNBC have claimed to have spoken to a man who had exchanged messages with Mateen on a gay dating app.
His ex-wife has also come forward in the aftermath to share her experience with the suspect. Sitora Yusifiy was married to Mateen for four months before filing for divorce in 2011, claiming domestic violence and serious mental health problems on his side.
“I have cut him off, I’ve blocked everything and my family warned him that if he tried to contact me, they would go to the authorities,” she told the Guardian. Yusifiy’s fiancé also told the newspaper: “I hear the media trying to make this about Isis or Islam, but it is about imbalance, it’s about society, it’s about parenting, accepting each other.”