Two weeks into the investigation into the tragic Orlando shooting that killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, FBI investigators have been unable to uncover persuasive evidence corroborating reports that the shooter, Omar Mateen, previously frequented the club, used gay dating apps or pursued gay relationships, The Associated Press reports citing two government officials.
During the June 12th massacre. Mateen made pro-ISIS comments to police that constructed a narrative that he was an “Islamic soldier” and that his attack was orchestrated against both the West and the LGBQT community, who have been persecuted by ISIS soldiers.
However, in the ensuing days, Pulse clubgoers who either survived or weren’t there during the attack revealed in interviews that Mateen was a frequent patron of the club, opening up a plausible ulterior motive for the attack.
In an interview with Univision, a heavily disguised man who claimed to be “friends with benefits” with Mateen suggested that the Pulse shooting was “revenge” after Mateen felt he was “used” by Latino men; the Pulse nightclub was predominately Latino.
“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin – but he felt rejected. He felt used by them – there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,” the man, using the alias “Miguel,” told Univision. “I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was revenge.”
However, after 500 interviews, including one with “Miguel,” FBI investigators have not discovered anything that concretely proves Mateen was gay or pursuing gay relationships. The Associated Press‘ sources warn that the investigation is still ongoing and that nothing has been ruled out.
Jim Van Horn, a patron of Pulse, claimed in an interview following the shooting that he too recognized Mateen from his several trips to the nightclub. Van Horn said he had not been interviewed by FBI investigators, but added he lacked any firm proof that it was Mateen he saw at Pulse. As for why more men haven’t come forward with evidence regarding Mateen, Van Horn said, “Nobody’s going to say they slept with a terrorist and be on national TV.”