Several regular patrons of the gay nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were murdered Sunday morning are coming forward with the news that they’ve previously seen the gunman, Omar Mateen, at that bar several times before.
“It’s the same guy,” performer Chris Callen told the Canadian Press. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, said he had previously spoken to Mateen at the club, Pulse, and had also seen him being escorted from the building for being too drunk on several occasions.
“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,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel.
“He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife, or family,” Smith added. “His father was really strict…he used to bitch about it.”
Mateen’s father issued a statement on Sunday morning after the tragedy, saying his son has recently been “very angry” about seeing two men kissing.
But there appears to be more to the story, as not only have witnesses reported seeing him at the club, but another man said he and his friend have both received messages from Mateen on a gay dating app, according to an upcoming interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
As for his attendance at Pulse, both Callen and Smith said they stopped speaking to Mateen after he threatened them with violence, reportedly after a joke about religion was made.
“He ended up pulling a knife,” Callen said. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out.”