Details are still unfolding about Omar Mateen after he shot 49 people inside of gay nightclub, Pulse, over the weekend. The shooting left 50 dead and 53 injured, and one of the dead included Mateen himself.
Preliminary reports assumed that Mateen was a radicalized Islamic extremist, due to the fact that he phoned 9-1-1 to pledge allegiance to ISIS during the shooting. ISIS has since taken credit for the attack. However, the latest information including testimony from people who knew Mateen including a former police academy classmate and his ex-wife suggest that Mateen had “gay tendencies.” Was this shooting more out of mere self hatred than a religious jihād?
In an interview with Brazilian TV, Mateen’s ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy’s current boyfriend spoke for her in front of the camera. Yusufiy told her current boyfriend that Mateen was abusive and unstable during their relationship. She said that he showed “gay tendencies” and that his father had also called him gay in front of her several times.
The assertion is backed up by a former police academy classmate of Mateen’s – who remains nameless – who told the Palm Beach Post that Mateen had asked him out on a romantic date in the past. “We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined the offer,” said the source. The former classmate believed that Mateen was gay but hiding it.
The concept that Mateen was a closet homosexual is further supported by the fact that he was a regular for the past three years at the very Pulse nightclub he assaulted. He was also reported as using the gay dating app, Jack’d, and had been communicating with Kevin West through the app for the past year. While West never met Mateen in person, it was possible they passed each other on the street the night of the shooting, as West was dropping off a friend at the nightclub.
All of this testimony brings a possible new light to the motives behind the shootings. Was this a case of religious jihād due to Islamic radicalization? Or was this a gay man, who could not accept himself, committing a heinous act in order to try to “prove” that he wasn’t gay?
Marteen’s father, Saddique Marteen, does not think his son was gay. “If he was gay, why would he do something like this?” he told the Palm Beach Post.