Omar Mateen carried out one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on U.S. soil over the weekend, bringing a loaded assault rifle and a handgun into Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killing 49 people and injuring several others. According to Mail Online, patrons of the gay club have said that this wasn’t the first time Mateen was inside the club. In fact, the Orlando shooter had been to Pulse at least a dozen times in the past, some have even referred to him as a “regular.”
— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 13, 2016
Despite being homophobic, Mateen would go to Pulse and drink.
“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself. Other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” said Ty Smith. “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,” he added.
A former classmate of Omar Mateen, Samuel King, said that the two worked together in the 2000’s. King says that the Mateen he knew wasn’t anti-gay by any means. He says that he is shocked that the guy he knew actually chose to target gay people because he seemed so accepting, “at least back then.”
“What is shocking to me is that the majority of the staff at Ruby Tuesday’s when I worked there were gay. He clearly was not anti-(gay), at least not back then. He did not show any hatred to any of us. He treated us all like the individuals we were. He always smiled and said ‘hello.’ Something must have changed,” said King.
— CNN (@CNN) June 13, 2016
Omar Mateen was reportedly disgusted by gay people and became really bothered when he saw two men kissing in Miami a while ago. If this information is true, it is safe to assume that the shooting spree at a gay club was well thought out.
Just two days before walking into the club and opening fire, Mateen took his guns and went on a “wild shooting practice” in Port St. Lucie, where he lived. According to The Telegraph, a man witnessed Mateen at the shooting range and said that he was “almost certain” that he was firing off an AR-15 and a Glock. These are the two weapons that Mateen brought into Pulse to carry out his sinister plan.
“A man that was also practising [sic] at the St Lucie Shooting Centre range said Mateen was really loud and ‘shooting pretty hard and the cables holding the target came down — whether that was bad aim or a ricochet I don’t know.'”
Omar Mateen had previously been under surveillance by the FBI. According to People Magazine, it was just three years ago that Mateen told his co-workers that he was “a member of Hezbollah with ties to al-Qaida” and that he was just waiting for his time to “become a martyr.”
“According to the FBI source, Mateen’s co-workers were interviewed by local FBI agents, who recommended that he be watched by the terrorist screening center. In the months between June and September 2013, the FBI interviewed ‘numerous witnesses’ about Mateen and conducted physical surveillance operations on him on several occasions. Searches of other records and travel history, however, ‘found nothing noteworthy.'”
Many feel as though Omar Mateen should have been investigated further and that if he was kept on surveillance, maybe the attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, wouldn’t have happened. Do you think Omar Mateen could have been stopped? Thoughts?
[Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images]