A former coworker of the Orlando nightclub killer has called 29-year-old Omar Mateen an angry, loud, profane man who used slurs for gay people, blacks, Jews and women.
“He never used other words to describe them,” Daniel Gilroy told the Tampa Bay Times. Mateen also regularly made threats of violence, according to Gilroy.
Gilroy, who worked with Mateen as a security guard at security company G4S, told the LA Times that he had “complained multiple times that he was dangerous.”
He said Mateen was “unhinged and unstable…he had a lot of rage in him.
“This was a man that would lose his temper for no reason. He would kick walls, slap desks, I’ve seen him throw a chair across the room one time,” Gilroy recounted to ABC News.
“But he also had a lot of hatred for people. Black people, women, he did not like Jews, he did not like Hispanics, nor did he like gay or lesbian people.
“He talked about killing people all the time,” Gilroy told The New York Times. And he wasn’t surprised when he learned of the massacre: “I saw it coming.”
Gilroy said Mateen started badgering him and sending dozens of text messages to him daily. He said he reported Mateen’s behavior to his bosses and eventually asked to be transferred in order to get away from him.
“I kind of feel a little guilty that I didn’t fight harder,” Gilroy said. “If I didn’t walk away and I fought, then maybe 50 people would still be alive today.”
In 2013, Mateen made inflammatory comments to co-workers, and he was interviewed twice, FBI agent Ronald Hopper said. He called those interviews inconclusive. In 2014, Hopper said, officials found that Mateen had ties to an American suicide bomber. He described the contact as minimal, saying it did not constitute a threat at the time.
Mateen was the son of an Afghan immigrant who had a talk show in the United States, the nature of which was not entirely clear: A former Afghan official said the program was pro-Taliban and a former colleague said it was enthusiastically pro-American.
He attended evening prayer services at the city’s Islamic Center three to four times a week, most recently with his young son, said Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman. Although he was not very social, he also showed no signs of violence, Rahman said. He said he last saw Mateen on Friday.
“When he finished prayer he would just leave,” Rahman told The Associated Press. “He would not socialize with anybody. He would be quiet. He would be very peaceful.”
He was also bipolar, Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told reporters in Boulder, Colorado.
“He was mentally unstable and mentally ill,” Yusufiy said. Although records show the couple didn’t divorce for two years after the marriage, Yusiufiy said she was actually only with Mateen for four months because he was abusive. She said he would not let her speak to her family and that family members had to come and literally pull her out of his arms.
Authorities immediately began investigating whether Sunday’s attack was an act of terrorism. A law enforcement official said the gunman made a 911 call from the nightclub professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The law enforcement official is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Yusufiy said she was “devastated, shocked, started shaking and crying” when she heard about the shooting, but she attributed the violence to Mateen’s mental illness, not any alliance with terrorist groups.
“My personal opinion is that this has nothing to do with ISIS,” he said.
Seddique Mir Mateen, the father of the alleged shooter, is a life insurance salesman who started a group in 2010 called Durand Jirga, Inc., according to Qasim Tarin, a businessman from California who was a Durand Jirga board member. The name refers to the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Tarin said Seddique Mir Mateen had a television show on which they discussed issues facing Afghanistan.
“It’s shocking,” he said about the shooting. “(Omar Mateen’s) father loves this country.”
Some of Seddique Mir Mateen’s shows were taped and later posted on YouTube. During one episode, a sign in the background read: “Long live the USA! Long live Afghanistan. … Afghans are the best friends to the USA.”
But a former Afghan official said the “Durand Jirga Show” appears on Payam-e-Afghan, a California-based channel that supports ethnic solidarity with the Afghan Taliban, which are mostly Pashtun. Viewers from Pashtun communities in the United States regularly call in to the channel to espouse support for Pashtun domination of Afghanistan over the nation’s minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks, the official said.
The “Durand Jirga Show” expresses support for the Taliban, has an anti-Pakistan slant, complains about foreigners in Afghanistan and criticizes U.S. actions there, the official said. Seddique Mir Mateen lavished praise on current Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when he appeared on the show in January 2014, but he has since denounced the Ghani government, according to the official, who said that on Saturday, Seddique Mateen appeared on the show dressed in military fatigues and used his program to criticize the current Afghan government.
He also announced on that show that he would run in the next Afghan presidential election, said the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be linked to coverage of the shooting.
Mateen purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so, according to Trevor Velinor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Mateen had no criminal record. Yusufiy said he wanted to be a police officer and had applied to the police academy.
But Rahman said Mateen was not, as far as the imam could see, someone who would ever commit such a gruesome act of mass violence. Rahman said he knew Mateen and his family since the shooter was a young boy. Playful as a child, he became more serious as an adult, Rahman said. He spoke both English and Farsi, and was into body building
“It was totally unexpected,” Rahman said.