While much of the focus on Omar Mateen (pictured above), the shooter in the Orlando massacre at Pulse in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning, have focused on his reported call to 911 pledging allegiance to ISIS and his possible radicalization, now reports are coming out that he had frequented Pulse numerous times prior to the massacre. Moreover, some are now coming forward who are stating that he also met men via a gay dating app. Thus, the question becomes simply casing the club or was he a violence prone version of self-loathing closeted gays such as Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli - men who are hysterically anti-gay while perhaps desperately wanting same sex relations condemned by their faith? We will likely never know what was in Mateen's mind, but these reports certainly scramble what some thought was an open and shut analysis of his motivations. Perhaps Donald Trump and others only too happy to rush to judgment may find that things are more complicated that they ignorantly thought. Towleroad looks at some of these new reports in the wake of Mateen's photo being widely circulated. Here are excerpts:
Reports have surfaced suggesting that Omar Mateen, the shooter responsible for the death of at least 49 people at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, was a regular at that club and also messaged guys on a gay dating app.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, Mateen visited the gay nightclub at least 12 times, a fact corroborated by 4 witnesses.
Reports of Mateen’s visits to Pulse were also reported in the Canadian Press, as Gawker points out:
“It’s the same guy,” Chris Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, also said he’d seen Mateen being escorted drunk from the club, Pulse, on multiple occasions.
"(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 told the Canadian Press.
“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,” Smith also explained to the Orlando Sentinel, which spoke with at least four clubgoers who remembered seeing Mateen at 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.”
Both Callen and Smith, who are married, tell the Canadian Press they stopped speaking to Mateen after he threatened them with a knife, apparently after someone made a joke about religion.
Another individual has come forth saying they met Mateen on gay dating app, Jack’d. WABC News reports:
Kevin West said the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, contacted him three months ago through a dating app called Jack’d.
“When he first contacted me, he was saying things like, ‘What clubs are popping and things of that sort, what are good places to go?'” West said. “And I remember telling him, ‘Oh, you can just look it up online because I don’t go out that much.”
West said he didn’t think anything of it at the time. On Sunday morning, he said he met with FBI agents and showed them his communications with Mateen.
West was dropping off a friend at the club when he noticed Mateen – whom he knew by sight but not by name – crossing the street wearing a dark cap and carrying a black cellphone about 1 a.m., an hour before the shooting.
“He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey,’” and nodded his head, West said. “I could tell by the eyes.” […]
As soon as West saw photos released of Mateen after the shooting, he said, he drove to his local police station, where officers summoned FBI officials, who showed him a photo of Mateen on a computer screen.
“I said, ‘That’s him,’” West said, and turned over his phone and Jack’d log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.
As noted, above, all seems very bizarre, but note the references to his religiously strict father. It seems like to many visits if he was only casing the club for his planned assault.