The gunman behind the Orlando gay club mass shooting that claimed at least 50 lives, Omar Mateen, has been identified as a Muslim-American of Afghan decent.
Ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy told The Washington Post Mateen was mentally unstable, and wanted to be a police officer. Apparently, he had trained with his friends, of whom some were police officers, and he himself had a license to own a gun.
“He wanted to be a police officer. He applied to the police academy,” Yusufiy said. “He worked as a correctional officer or something at a juvenile delinquent center so he was working up and gaining experience to become an officer.”
Although Yusufiy said Mateen never practiced in front of her, she is sure he must have gone to shooting ranges. The two of them have not been in contact for years ever since she left him in 2011, when she felt her life was threatened by him.
“I was with him for about four months. I stayed with him. Then my family rescued me and then started the process of divorce,” she said.
Apparently, Mateen enjoyed spending his leisure time working out at the gym. A number of Myspace photos have him wearing New York Police Department shirts.
Mateen has been described by his wife as “very short-tempered” and she said he would often end up in fights with her parents. She also added that a good amount of that violence was directed toward her and in an interview with The Washington Post, Yusufiy said that her ex-husband was violently abusive and assaulted her many times.
“He was not a stable person,” she added.
She also recalled incidents where Mateen would beat her up for no good reason.
Describing Mateen as a “private person,” his ex-wife claimed that he was not expressive about his Muslim faith. However, relatives interviewed by U.S. media confirmed that Mateen, thought not very religious, certainly held anti-gay sentiments and regularly assaulted Yusufiy.
She additionally said Mateen was bipolar and had a history with steroids, further claiming that in the four months that the couple was together, Mateen had cut her off from her family. She left his home, leaving behind all her belongings and has had no contact with him for nearly eight years.
Elaborating on Mateen's religious views, Yusufiy stated that there were certainly no signs of radicalism. “There was no sign of any of this at all,” she said.
Imam Shafiq Rahman, from the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, said that he found it “unbelievable” that Mateen carried out the gay club rampage.
"I never expected this. We teach peace and justice. It must be some kind of psychological problem or anger problem,” Rahman said, also adding that Mateen could possibly have been radicalized on the internet.
On the day of the shooting, Mateen called 911 and stated his allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, according to Ronald Hopper, an FBI assistant special agent investigating the case. However, as yet there is not enough evidence to proof his connection with the ISIS.
In 2013 and 2014, FBI agents interviewed Mateen after he indicated to coworkers that he supported militant groups, but according to Special Agent Hopper, neither of the interviews were evidence of any criminal activity on Mateen’s part.
Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, during interviews on Sunday claimed that his son’s violent acts were not religiously motivated but instead were a result of an incident that took place a few months ago, where he spotted a gay couple kissing. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that,'” Mateen’s father narrated.
Mateen is known to have had a son with a woman other than his wife; the woman also had left him. However, she refused to comment on the massacre.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters