The gunman in the Orlando massacre was taking revenge against the gay Latino community after various negative experiences at the Pulse nightclub, a man claiming to be Omar Mateen’s former lover told the Spanish-language US news outlet Univision on Tuesday.
The man, who came forward 10 days after Mateen killed 49 people and injured dozens more in a shootout at the Pulse nightclub, said he had met the killer on an online gay dating site last year. The two eventually formed a “friends with benefits” relationship, he said.
The former lover, who wore a prosthetic disguise and only identified himself as “Miguel” during the interview, claimed he was now speaking up because he didn’t want people to believe Mateen’s real motive was terrorism.
“I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” Miguel said.
Miguel said Mateen was angry and frustrated after learning a Latino man he had a sexual relationship with was infected with HIV.
The former lover, who claimed to have met the assailant 15 to 20 times before ending their relationship in December, said Mateen never revealed his identity, but admitted to having a wife and a son. The marriage was a smokescreen for Mateen, who was “100 percent” gay, the interviewee said.
“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,” Miguel added. “I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was revenge.”
Mateen was also angry at his father’s animosity towards homosexuals, Miguel said.
Miguel said he approached the FBI after the attack, and was interviewed by the agency three times.
Univision said it could not corroborate his claims, but did confirm that he was interviewed by the FBI.
Miguel said that Mateen had expressed criticism of the US’s “war on terror.”
During the massacre, Mateen called the police to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State terror group and called for the US to stop bombing Iraq and Syria, according to transcripts of the phone conversations released by the FBI on Monday.
Despite the pledge, A FBI agent working the case said there is no evidence Mateen was directed by a foreign terrorist group, and he was believed to have been radicalized online.