Was Orlando shooter Omar Mateen struggling with his own sexuality?

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

In an unexpected twist, there are reports that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen had not only been to Pulse nightclub before but had used gay dating apps.

On Sunday, the 29-year-old slaughtered 49 people by opening fire on hundreds of revelers inside the gay club. He was later shot by officers who stormed the venue.

The FBI is investigating Mateen’s connections to radical Islamic groups. Isis, to which he pledged support in a 911 call before embarking on the attack, has praised his actions.

It’s now been claimed by four regulars at the club that they had often seen Mateen there.

“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 told the Orlando Sentinel.

“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.”

Kevin West revealed that he had communicated with Mateen on the gay dating app Jack’d. The killer had asked him out for drinks.

West, a former navy serviceman who was at Pulse on the night of the massacre, told the Washington Post that he saw Mateen walking past in the parking lot at around 1 a.m.

“I remember details. I never forget a face,” he said.

Cord Cedeno also told the newspaper that he had been in touch with Mateen on a dating app and had previoulsy seen him in the club. “He was open with his picture on the sites; he was easy to recognise,” said Cedeno.

Speaking to Canadian Press, Smith dismissed claims by Mateen’s father that he had staged the attack because he became angry when he saw two men kissing.

“That’s bullcrap, right there. No offence. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,” Smith said.

“Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar…. He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?”

The simplistic portrait of Mateen as a one-dimensional religious fantastic is starting to evolve. It appears that he may well have been a closeted bisexual or gay man grappling with his sexuality and his religious beliefs.

Mateen was born in New York to Afghan parents. He worked as a security guard and had an ex wife, a wife and a child.

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