Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was 'closet gay'

As a grief-stricken public seeks an explanation for the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, not to mention the deadliest ever attack on American LGBTQ people, news publications are examining the life and potential motivations of Omar Mateen, who on the early Sunday morning shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 more at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse.

The elder Mateen said that apart from the time his son got angry a few months ago over seeing two men kissing, he never saw any anti-gay behavior from him.

However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said Mateen had made comments favorable to multiple armed Islamist movements and people, which "adds a little bit to the confusion about his motives".

One official familiar with the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said investigators were only beginning to delve into the contents of Mateen's mobile phone and other electronic devices.

An initial wave of officers charged into the club and trapped Mateen in a bathroom, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters.

"And all I could hear was the shotgun one after another, and people screaming, people yelling for help", he said, his voice quavering, describing seeing Mateen heading back in his direction. Mateen, 29, was a USA citizen, born in NY of Afghan immigrant parents.

President Barack Obama said there is no clear evidence that Mateen was directed by the group, calling the attack an apparent example of "homegrown extremism". He has also called it both a terrorist act and a hate crime - or one targeting a specific community.

Mateen's family, particularly his father, Seddique Mateen, has stated publicly that his son was not gay.

At the time, the organization claimed, he was engaging in sex with a 12-year-old girl in the presence of two other underage girls. He said Mateen usually was quiet but sometimes showed flashes of temper.

Jim Van Horn, 71, said Mateen was a regular at the club.

Mateen worked as a private security guard at a gated retirement community. During the attack, he called 911 to profess allegiance to the Islamic State group. He also referenced the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

Islamic State reiterated on Monday a claim of responsibility, though it offered no signs to indicate coordination with the gunman.

 

 

 

  • Jo Lloyd