Four regulars of the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse have come forward to say that they had seen Omar Mateen at the club before the night of the shooting which claimed forty nine lives.
“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,” Ty Smith said. He went on to tell the Orlando Sentinel that he saw Mateen inside 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,” Smith said. “He told us he had a wife and child.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said he had no information concerning these sightings, but a second Pulse regular, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen sometimes messaged him using a gay dating app.
Cord Cedeno and Chris Callen are other Pulse customers who told the Sentinel they had seen Mateen in the nightclub. Called reported that he had witnessed violent outbursts by Mateen.
“It was definitely him. He’d come in for years, and people knew him,” Cedeno said.
This new information definitely points towards the massacre being a hate crime. It was pre-planned by Mateen, but it is still unsure whether this brutal massacre was a result of his allegiance to the Islamic State. Salon Magazine urged readers to understand that “the attacker’s homophobic intent has gotten buried in the response to the event—with news organizations, politicians, and public figures reticent to label the act a “hate crime.”
Image |Reuters/Mike Blake