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The Associated Press
June 13, 2016
His ex-wife says Omar Mateen, a security guard who once wanted to be a cop, was abusive
FORT PIERCE, Fla. — He was a body builder and a security guard, a religious man who attended the local mosque and wanted to become a police officer.
Early Sunday, 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, leaving 50 people dead and 53 wounded, police said.
Mateen was the son of an Afghan immigrant who had a talk show in the United States, the nature of which was not entirely clear: A former Afghan official said the program was pro-Taliban and a former colleague said it was enthusiastically pro-American.
He attended evening prayer services at the city’s Islamic Centre three to four times a week, most recently with his young son, said Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman. Although he was not very social, he also showed no signs of violence, Rahman said. He said he last saw Mateen on Friday.
“When he finished prayer he would just leave,” Rahman told The Associated Press. “He would not socialize with anybody. He would be quiet. He would be very peaceful.”
He was also bipolar, Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told reporters in Boulder, Colorado.
“He was mentally unstable and mentally ill,” Yusufiy said. Although records show the couple didn’t divorce for two years after the marriage, Yusiufiy said she was actually only with Mateen for four months because he was abusive. She said he would not let her speak to her family and that family members had to come and literally pull her out of his arms.
Authorities immediately began investigating whether Sunday’s attack was an act of terrorism. A law enforcement official said the gunman made a 911 call from the nightclub professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The law enforcement official is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Yusufiy said she was “devastated, shocked, started shaking and crying” when she heard about the shooting, but she attributed the violence to Mateen’s mental illness, not any alliance with terrorist groups.
Rahman agreed. “My personal opinion is that this has nothing to do with ISIS,” he said.
A CNN article appears to confirm that Mateen used steroids. [Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance – CNN.com]
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Mateen altered looks, researched anti-psychotic drugs before attack — (Reuters)
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.
Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:28am EDT
Mateen also talked about staying up all night to do online research into anti-psychosis medication, the acquaintance said in a interview. The acquaintance requested anonymity, saying authorities had asked him to keep quiet.
The 29-year-old gunman, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, called himself an “Islamic soldier” and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group before being fatally shot by police after a three-hour siege.
The FBI would not comment on the acquaintance’s remarks, but several senior U.S. sources told Reuters the investigation was moving more toward the belief that Mateen’s motives were personal rather than political.
“It looks increasingly like this may have been the act of a seriously troubled individual whose personal problems dwarfed any last-minute inspiration from radical groups,” said a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Authorities believe Mateen, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent, was self-radicalized and acted alone in the rampage. He seems to have been a troubled youth, disciplined dozens of times in school and had his aspirations to become a policeman dashed when he was expelled from the academy.
The acquaintance, a resident at the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where Mateen worked as a gate security guard, said he noticed signs of deteriorating behavior a few weeks before the massacre.
He had passed the gate for three years, meeting Mateen several times a week and exchanging friendly small talk. About three weeks before the attack, he noticed Mateen seemed agitated and asked him if he was all right.
Mateen said he was worn out from staying up all night to research psychiatric medication, although he did not say he was taking specific drugs.
“He’d been real worried about whether or not he’d slipped into psychosis,” the acquaintance said. “He wasn’t as friendly. He was obsessed with researching medication online.”
The acquaintance said he thought it was strange that Mateen would confide to him his concerns about his mental health, because they were not very close and he did not know anything about Mateen’s personal life, including whether he was married or had children.
“The last month, he looked worried, he looked upset, he looked confused,” the acquaintance said. “He didn’t seem himself.”
In the early morning, about 18 hours before the June 12 attack, the acquaintance said he drove up to the gate but Mateen was not there to open it as usual.
In a couple of minutes, he appeared, silent and with a completely transformed look – a shaved head and face, without his usual short whiskers and glasses.
When asked if he was OK, the usually polite Mateen responded: “What’s it to you, anyway?”
(Additional reporting by Jon Walcott and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)