Former classmates of Omar Mateen, the man behind the Orlando mass shooting, have come forward with claims that he had once threatened to shoot up the school when he was in the fifth grade. The Orlando mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 49 people and left 53 injured, has been called the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Leslie Hall, who was with Omar in the 5th grade at Mariposa Elementary, revealed to TMZ that Mateen had once threatened a group of kids that he would bring a gun to school and shoot everyone up. Leslie added that it wasn’t just a joke, either, and that once the students had complained to a teacher, Omar was suspended for 2 weeks for making the terror threats.
Although she says she can’t remember what exactly had provoked Omar into make that particular threat, she claims that he used to be a bully, and that her mother had had several meetings with the school faculty over Omar constantly bullying her and the other students. According to Hall, he was the archetype troublemaker, throwing chairs and spitting on his teachers. Omar had also reportedly shocked his high school classmates bragging right after 9/11 that Osama bin Laden was his uncle. Former classmates agreed that he had been showing plenty of red flags from an early age, and that they all wished more had been done in terms of discipline or counselling.
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 12, 2016
Immediately after Omar Mateen was confirmed as being the man behind the killings, people who knew him from before have gradually come forward, describing him as a troubled and an angry individual. Ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy, for instance, described a brief and abusive relationship with Omar. Speaking to the Washington Post, she claimed that he was a steroid abuser and would constantly hit her. She also said that she had to rely on her family to help her escape the relationship.
“He was not a stable person. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that… He was a very private person. He seemed like a normal human being but was far from it.”
A former colleague of Omar, Daniel Gilroy, described him as racist, sexist, and homophobic, claiming that he often used slurs against African-Americans, gay people, and women. Speaking with the Times, Daniel revealed that he worked with Omar for over a year as a security guard at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, during which time he had reportedly made a complaint to his employer regarding Omar’s nature. Gilroy claims that Mateen that threatened violence in front of him on several occasions, describing one particular incident where Mateen, using racial slurs, had expressed a desire to kill all black people, after seeing an African American man drive past him.
“I complained multiple times that he was dangerous, that he didn’t like blacks, women, lesbians and Jews. You meet bigots. But he was above and beyond. He was always angry, sweating, just angry at the world.”
Syed Shafeeq Rahman, the Imam in a mosque Omar often visited, claims that although there were rumors of him being very aggressive, he was unusually quiet at the mosque. He also revealed that Omar did not appear to have a single close friend in the community.
The mass shooting in Pulse nightclub, a popular hangout for gay people in Orlando, has brought the whole nation in a state of tragedy and trauma. People around the world have condemned the shooting while expressing their solidarity to the LGBT community. Following the bloody incident, many people have also questioned the efficacy of the law enforcement bodies, after reports surfaced that he was considered a potential terror threat and was investigated by the FBI. People are also shocked by the fact that a man who was in the FBI watch-list as a potential terror threat was able to legally buy the firearms he used in the killings. This has added more fire to the debate regarding the controversial gun laws in the United States.
ATF agent says Omar Mateen purchased 2 guns-a “hand gun & long gun” in past wk-legally. Even though there’d been 2 FBI investigations of him
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) June 12, 2016
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 13, 2016
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 12, 2016
[Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]