As more details on the past of the suspected Orlando gay nightclub shooter emerges, Gawker reports Omar Mateen previously exchanged messages at least once with a gay man on a gay dating app. Additionally, according to witnesses, he regularly visited Pulse, the very club where he allegedly killed 49 people and left over 50 more injured early Sunday morning. Mateen’s father originally said his son was upset when he saw two men kissing prior to committing the horrific mass shooting.
Chris Callen, a Pulse regular who performs under the name of Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press he remembered seeing Mateen at Pulse repeatedly. “It’s the same guy. He’s been going to this bar for at least three years,” Callen said.
Another witness named Ty Smith, who goes by Aries and who is married to Callen, recalled seeing Mateen at the club before the horrific mass shooting. “(He’d get) really, really drunk… He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife or family. His father was really strict… He used to bitch about it,” Smith also told the Canadian Press.
The Orlando Sentinel spoke to at least four regular clubgoers, including Smith, who also remember seeing Mateen frequent the club more than a dozen times. Smith told the Sentinel he remembered having conversations with Mateen where he discussed his home life with his father and wife.
“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… He told us he had a wife and child.”
Callen and Smith told the Canadian Press they stopped talking to Mateen after he threatened them and pulled out a knife after someone made a religious joke. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out,” Callen said.
On Monday, a drag queen and former classmate of the reported shooter told The Daily Beast Mateen was a “jokester” who “always had a smile on his face” and “didn’t have an issue with the LGBT community” back in 2004 when they used to work at the same mall.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes will interview a man who claims he spoke with Mateen through messages on a gay dating app a few months ago tonight on his show All In.