Omar Mateen CBS News
Omar Mateen

Orlando gunman 'was regular at Pulse' clubgoers say

Clubgoers told a local paper the 29-year-old would drink heavily and get “loud and belligerent” in the gay club.

THE GUNMAN WHO massacred 49 people at the Pulse club in Orlando was himself a regular at the gay nightspot, four clubgoers have told the Orlando Sentinel.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Ty Smith told the Sentinel, referring to slain shooter Omar Mateen, 29.

Smith told the paper that he saw Mateen inside at least a dozen times.

“We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith said.

He told us he had a wife and child.

Another Pulse regular, Kevin West, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen messaged him on and off for a year using a gay chat app.

And other clubgoers told local media and MSNBC that Mateen had been using multiple gay apps, including Grindr, with mutual acquaintances to “hook up”.

Mateen, a Muslim American of Afghan descent, also was at Walt Disney World in April, said a Disney manager who requested anonymity.

His wife, Noor Zahi Salman, was not cooperating with authorities, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Sentinel said.

49 people were killed and 53 others wounded in the attack, which was also the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

FBI chief James Comey said his bureau was “highly confident” Mateen had been “radicalised” while consuming online propaganda and that he had claimed allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a series of calls during the attack.


Meanwhile vigils have been held around the world for the victims of the Orlando shooting. Thousands turned out to honour those killed at an event in Dublin city centre last evening. / YouTube

Speaking to after the event, one of the organisers Broden Giambrone of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said that the large turnout showed the level of support and solidarity that was on offer from the gay community in Ireland.

“We think that we’ve come so far with LGBT rights in Ireland and the US and across the globe but then moments like this tell us that we have a long way to go.”

This was a horrific act of violence but I think for us it’s important to come together and show our solidarity from Ireland all the way to Orlando, Florida.
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