Attack on Orlando gay club ‘unbelievable,’ says local imam
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Attack on Orlando gay club ‘unbelievable,’ says local imam

Shooter Omar Mateen attended prayers at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce several times a week, but didn’t socialize

Mourners gather outside of the iconic New York City gay and lesbian bar The Stonewall Inn on June 12, 2016 to light candles, lay flowers and grieve for those killed in Orlando early Sunday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Mourners gather outside of the iconic New York City gay and lesbian bar The Stonewall Inn on June 12, 2016 to light candles, lay flowers and grieve for those killed in Orlando early Sunday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

FORT PIERCE, Florida – The imam of the mosque where the Orlando nightclub shooter worshiped said Sunday that the suspect never gave any indication he was capable of such violence.

Omar Mateen, 29, attended evening prayers three or four times a week at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, bringing his son who is about four or five years old, the mosque’s imam said.

“He would pray and his son would play,” said Syed Shafeeq Rahman, who has known Mateen since 2003 when he became the imam.

Mateen did not socialize, leaving when services ended.

He didn’t talk but would smile and shake hands, Rahman said.

Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman, the imam of the mosque that mass shooter Omar Mateen attended, speaks to the media in Fort Pierce, Florida on June 12, 2016. (Jon Silman/AFP)
Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman, the imam of the mosque that mass shooter Omar Mateen attended, speaks to the media in Fort Pierce, Florida on June 12, 2016. (Jon Silman/AFP)

The imam said it was “unbelievable” that a heavily-armed Mateen carried out a rampage at a gay club in Orlando, killing 50 people and wounding 53.

It was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.

Authorities said Mateen apparently called the 911 emergency hotline before the massacre and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

“I never expected this,” Rahman said, holding a Koran in his hand as he spoke with reporters. “We teach peace and justice.”

Omar Mateen, 30, from Port Saint Lucie, is the suspected gunman in a mass shooting attack at an Orlando nightclub for the LGBT community, according to police, June 12, 2016. (MySpace)
Omar Mateen, 30, from Port Saint Lucie, is the suspected gunman in a mass shooting attack at an Orlando nightclub for the LGBT community, according to police, June 12, 2016. (MySpace)

“It must be some kind of psychological problem or anger problem,” the imam said, adding that Mateen might have been radicalized on the Internet.

Mateen’s parents regularly attend services at the mosque and his father works in life insurance, the imam said.

Rahman said he was concerned about the safety of the mosque, located on a quiet residential street in the small coastal city of Fort Pierce.

“The people who are bad people look like us, and that’s a problem,” he said.

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