A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s says Mateen was gay, once asked him out and visited the site of last weekend’s massacre often.
Officials say Mateen shot and killed 49 people (50 by some estimates) and injured 53 others at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub early Sunday.
The classmate quoted by the Palm Beach Post said he studied with the future killer at Indian River Community College police academy.
He said that he, Mateen and other classmates would go out to gay bars and clubs after classes, and that he asked him out romantically.
“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate told the newspaper.
The source, who requested anonymity, said Mateen was gay, but not open about it, and that he was uncomfortable, and people felt sorry for him.
“He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him,” he said.
“He was always socially awkward.”
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, reports that Omar Mateen attended the Pulse nightclub as many as a dozen times before the rampage.
Kevin West said he had messaged Mateen back and forth for a year on the gay dating app Jack’d but never met him until 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.”
At least four regulars at Pulse, a popular night spot with the LGBT community, told the Orlando Sentinel that they’d seen Mateen there.
Ty Smith said he saw him a dozen times at least:
“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."
“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.”
Mateen, whose ex-wife says he was unstable and violent with her, had been going to Pulse for three years, another source reveals.
Chris Callen says Mateen even had to be escorted out on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pulled a knife on a friend.
Before carrying out the worst shooting in U.S. history, Omar was interviewed by the FBI twice regarding suspicious ties, but never arrested.
Mateen’s father, for his part, emphatically said Monday that his son was not gay: “If he was gay, why would he do something like this?”