The father of the man behind the recent massacre in an Orlando nightclub says he does not know why his son committed the mass killing. “I wish I did know,” Seddique Mateen told The Washington Post. “If I did know, I would have stopped him.”
Mateen said he saw his son the day before the shooting. “He was well behaved,” the elder man said. “His appearance was perfect. I didn’t see any sign of worrying or being upset or nervous.” Mateen was adamant that his son had a good upbringing, noting, “he wasn’t brought up in a family that wasn’t doing well,” and later adding, “he had a lot of love and care.”
“My respect and my condolence and my sympathy to those families that lost their loved ones,” he said.
The father also addressed his son’s actions in a video posted on Facebook. “I don’t know what cause this,” he said, according to a translation from The New York Times. “I did not know and did not understand that he has anger in his heart.” In addition, The Washington Post reports that the elder Mateen declared, “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality. This is not for the servants [of God].”
29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday morning around 2 a.m. Before he started shooting, he reportedly called 911 and “pledged allegiance to ISIS,” though no official link to the terrorist group has been confirmed. The gunman was found dead after a shootout with police around 5 a.m. According to the latest tally, 50 people were killed (including Mateen) and 53 were wounded in the attack, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
In a statement on Sunday, President Obama referred to the shooting as an “act of terror and act of hate.” “The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub, it is a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights,” he said. “So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us, and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”