Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Omar Mateen Shot Gays Because He Couldn't Accept His Own Sexual Orientation.

Pulse Patrons Remember Mateen as a Club Patron. His rage was about sexuality, not religion.

 

Latest twist: Omar Mateen was gay, and himself attended the Pulse Nightclub from time to time.

He married women twice, but went to gay nightclubs to meet men. He beat wives and they left him. Unable to resolve his own sexuality, Mateen took out his rage on those at Pulse Saturday night. Shouting "Allahu Akhbar" was just a part of his cover. It was about his sexual identity, not his religious identity.

Since the tragic Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, a portrait has emerged of a young man with issues of emotional instability and sexuality. Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was gay, former classmates say. The 29 year old married women twice and fathered one child, which would perhaps make "bisexual" more accurate.

At least four regular patrons of Pulse Nightclub, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen Mateen there before. Dozens of times.

Omar Mateen enrolled in Indian River Community College police academy in 2006. A male classmember said Mateen asked him out, and that he (and others) assumed Mateen was gay.

The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out together. Sometimes they would go to local gay nightclubs, after classes at the police academy. He said Mateen asked him out, making his romantic intentions and sexual orientation clear.

"We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer," one former classmate said, asking the LA times not to disclose his name. He believed Mateen was gay, but "in the closet." Mateen acted socially awkward in general, so the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him. "He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him," he said. "He was always socially awkward."

Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning. He pledged allegiance to Hezbollah, to Isis and Al Qaeda, which is interesting since the 3 groups are at war with each other in Syria.

In Orlando, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mateen attended the Pulse nightclub possibly as many as a dozen times before the rampage. Kevin West said he had messaged Mateen back and forth over a year's time on online gay dating application Jack'd but never met him, before he saw Mateen crossing the street about 1 a.m. Sunday.

"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."

"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," said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.

He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, Smith said to 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."

Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pointed a knife at a friend. Said Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, "He's been going to this bar for at least three years." A Toronto newspaper, The Canadian Press, printed a report Monday that Mateen had been seen there from time to time for 3 years.

Mateen's father emphatically told The Post Monday that his son was not gay. Mateen's father is, to say the least, a colorful figure. He once put a video online that he was the President of Afghanistan. He also said, in another yougube video, that anyone who is homosexual should be put to death. Today he denied that he ever said it. Yet it's online, on tape, in his native Pashtun language.

"If he was gay, why would he do something like this?" Seddique Mateen asked. Why indeed. Sitora Yusufiy, Mateen's estranged wife, said she married him not knowing the full extent of his madness. He became violent with her, he was bipolar. Co workers said he was unstable and filled with rage. As if he were a person who had never resolved his sexual orientation.

The former classmate said the group, including Mateen, went to four gay clubs in the Treasure Coast and West Palm Beach in 2006: Kashmir Night Club in West Palm Beach, Byrd Cage in Port St. Lucie, Cold Keg in Melbourne and Rebar in Port St. Lucie.

All but Cold Keg have since closed, and the owner there said he hadn't seen Mateen. Neither did one of Kashmir's former owners, who said none of his former employees have reached out to him, either.

After hearing that Mateen had shot up the nightclub, John Willett told the Orlando Sentinel he felt angry, then betrayed. He said Mateen graduated from the police academy, but never became an officer in Florida. Mateen worked as a security guard at a courthouse.In 2012, he want on the Haj, a religious pilgramage to Saudi Arabia, a country where homosexuality is punishable by death.

At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen Mateen there before.

It is interesting to note that the 9/11 hijackers frequented bars and strip clubs. Anwar al-Awlaki was a senior recruiter and Islamic scholar who was involved in planning terrorist operations for the Islamist militant group. From November 2001 to January 2002 the FBI observed him visiting a number of prostitutes, and interviewed them, establishing that he had paid for sex acts. Not at all what al-Awlaki preached in videotapes watched by many young muslims, including one young, confused Muslim security guard in Florida.

It appears that Mateen also lived a double life, struggling to resolve his faith, his sexual orientation, and his own madness.

Update, 6/14: Sitora Yusufi, Mateen's ex wife who married the killer in 2009 but hasn't seen him since 2012, told CNN last night that "it's possible" he had homosexual tendencies. "When we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past . .. that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife, and there were a lot of pictures of him. I fell like it's a part of his life that he lived, but probably didn't want everybody to know about." She says it's possible that he had feelings about "being gay."

 

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