New information has surfaced about Omar Mateen, the man responsible for opening fire in an Orlando nightclub. At least four witness report having seen Mateen in the Pulse nightclub prior to the night of the shooting. One of the witnesses, Ty Smith, says that he had seen him at least a dozen times.
‘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 said that he didn’t know Mateen all that well and they didn’t talk all that much.
‘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.’
Chris Callen, another Pulse regular says that Mateen was known at the club and had definitely been there before.
‘It was definitely him. He’d come in for years, and people knew him’
The Orlando police were asked about Smith’s statements, but had no new information to release. We don’t know why Mateen spent so much time at the Pulse. It’s possible he was scouting it out though that is unlikely considering how much time he spent there. A manager at Walt Disney World, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the shooter had visited the park in April of this year. The FBI is trying to determine whether he was scouting the park out as a potential target.
As for his motivations, Mateen does not appear to have been trained by any terrorist organization, but he did pledge allegiance to ISIS and cited the Boston Marathon bombing as inspiration.
Investigators are currently speaking with Mateen’s wife, Noor Zahi Salman, to determine whether she knew anything about the attack, but she is not cooperating with authorities. His ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, is apparently being more cooperative. She has told authorities that Mateen was abusive and suffered from bi-polar disorder.
Mateen had been investigated by the FBI twice, but they found no evidence linking him to radical organizations so the investigations were closed. Despite the investigations, there was nothing in Mateen’s background that prevented him from buying the guns used in the assault. The weapons used in the assault, a semi-automatic pistol and an AR assault rifle, were all purchased legally. The shop’s owner, Edward Henson, remembers selling the weapons to him.
‘He’s a nobody. He’s a customer. He came and purchased his guns, and he left.’
Aside from the fact that Mateen was apparently a regular at the Pulse, much of the information uncovered earlier Monday deals with Mateen’s history relating to law enforcement. In 2006, Mateen briefly worked as a corrections officer at Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown before taking a job at a private security firm. He was still an employee of the G4S security firm at the time of the shooting.