Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen Was Reportedly a *Regular* at Pulse Nightclub

The government is investigating reports that he was a frequent visitor and also used gay dating apps.

pulse nightclub
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The FBI is investigating reports that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a regular at Pulse, the gay nightclub where he gunned down 49 people and injured many more early Sunday morning, according to the Associated Press. An official, who spoke anonymously, told the AP that they were also investigating reports that he used gay dating apps. 

Several regulars at Pulse told media outlets that they saw Mateen at the club several times before, even as much as 12 times. "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," regular Pulse patron Ty Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. "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."

Kevin West, another regular at the club, said that Mateen talked occasionally on the gay messaging and dating app Jack'd, but the two had never met in person until about an hour before the shooting. "He walked directly past me. I said, 'Hey,' and he turned and said, 'Hey,'" and nodded his head, he told the Los Angeles Times. "I could tell by the eyes." 

Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told CNN's Erin Burnett "I don't know" when asked if he was gay. "He never personally or physically made any indication while we were together of that, but he did feel very strongly about homosexuality." When asked whether his son was gay in an interview, his father, Seddique Mateen, said, "It's not true. Why, if he was gay, would he do this?"

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.