( 4UMF NEWS ) Orlando Shooter Regular At Gay Club:
Omar Mateen lived a double life and was no stranger to Pulse, the gay Orlando nightclub where he killed 49 people Sunday morning, according to patrons who recognized him as a regular.
Mateen’s family said his bloody rampage was sparked by anti-gay hatred. But the killer, who had a wife Noor Salman and a child, had visited the gay-friendly hangout several times over the past three years and was active on gay hook-up sites like Grindr.
One couple, who work together as drag-dancing performers, said they’d seen Mateen as many as a dozen times at Pulse. Ty Smith and Chris Callen also said they’d seen him escorted drunk from Pulse more than once.
“I’ve seen him a couple of time at Pulse, a couple of other people that I’ve spoken with, including an-ex security guard, have actually witnessed this guy at Pulse many times before,” said Callen, who performs as Kristina McLauglin.
“One friend was a security guard there two years ago and she remembers him,” Callen told the Daily News.
He estimates Mateen began showing up about three years ago. Everybody was blown away to realize he was the man responsible for the slaughter.
“It’s shocking to everyone because we saw him there before,” said Callen.
He said one night Mateen got angry about a religious joke and pulled a knife on a friend. But it was nothing the friend couldn’t handle, Callen said.
The performer recalled his first words with Mateen three years ago.
“He was a nice guy,” he said of the shooter. “He was at the bar. He was actually talking with another guy. I turned around. I was in drag. I said hello. He seemed comfortable,” Callen said.
“As I was onstage he was standing next to somebody, having a conversation, having a good time close to the stage. Later on that night … he was out there dancing with another guy. It could be he just went crazy. Maybe he got radicalized and hated who he was,” Callen said.
Callen and his husband said they were headed to Pulse that night after celebrating Smith’s 40th birthday. But Smith was too tired to make it, so they went home.
“We could have been there. So far, I know 12 people (that) didn’t make it,” said Callen.
The couple said they didn’t buy the story spun by Mateen’s father. Seddique Mateen told NBC News immediately after the attack that his son had been motivated by rage after seeing two men kissing recently in Miami.
Mateen, who spent part of his early life in Queens and Westbury, L.I., had seen plenty of public displays of affection between gay couples before his Sunday blood bath.
“That’s bullcrap, right there. No offense. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,” Smith told the Canadian Press earlier Monday.
“Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar. … He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?” Smith said.
Another report claimed Mateen was known to contact men on gay online apps. At least one man came forward Monday to say Mateen had contacted him on Grindr, according to MSNBC.
The man also said he knew friends who’d been contacted by Mateen on Jack’d and Adam4Adam, other online gay dating services.
Callen and Smith said Mateen liked to let loose at Pulse in a way he could not around his religious family at home.
“(He’d get) really, really drunk. … He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife, or family. His father was really strict. … He used to bitch about it,” Smith told Canadian Press.
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