Multiple witnesses say Omar Mateen, accused of killing 49 at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on Sunday, was a regular customer. Kevin West, a Pulse regular, said he had contacted Mateen sporadically on the gay dating app, Jack’d.
The Palm Beach Post reports at least five people said they saw Mateen at gay clubs. A former classmate at the Indian River Community College police academy revealed, under condition of anonymity, that he, Mateen and other classmates would sometimes visit gay clubs after class. “We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer. He said, ‘Well if you were gay, you would be my type.’ I said OK and just went on with the night. It was not anything too crazy, but I take that as a pick-up line.”
The classmate said the group felt sorry for him, but no one liked him. “He was always socially awkward.”
Jim Van Horn, 71, said Mateen “was trying to pick up people. Men,” and that he was a regular at the club.
Ty Smith claims he saw Mateen at the 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. He told us he had a wife and child. 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.”
Chris Callen remembers Mateen being escorted drunk from the Pulse on multiple occasions. Once he pointed a knife at a friend. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.” Callen performs under the name Kristine McLaughlin.
Islam prohibits both alcohol and homosexuality. Even so, FBI Director James Carney said “we’re highly confident this killer was radicalized at least in some part through the internet.” Seddique Mateen, father of the accused shooter, emphatically denies his son might have been gay. “If he was gay, why would he do something like this?”
Justin Datz, 33, works at the Parlaiment, a resort catering to the Orlando LGTB community. He told the Telegraph he recognized Mateen’s face. A member of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, that opposes homosexuality, Datz understands the anguish of being in the closet. “I went through that self hatred. You don’t know how to accept it. But I was never part of a community that would kill me for my sexuality. And I was able to deal with it – unlike him.”
I am a beat reporter here at The Daily Voice, and a writer and editor for DailyTwoCents.com and Writedge.com. My interests are wide ranging outside of the virtual newsroom, yet here I mainly focus on serious world news and commentary. I graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in history.