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Orlando Gunman Used Gay Dating App

Orlando Gunman Used Gay Dating App June 13, 2016

Was the Orlando gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State a self-loathing, closeted gay man?

According to multiple media reports, Omar Mateen, the shooter responsible for the death of at least 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, exchanged messages with men on a gay dating app.

In addition, multiple witnesses have stepped forward claiming Mateen was a regular at Pulse,  the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Chris Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, said:

He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.

Ty Smith said he’d seen Mateen being escorted drunk from Pulse on multiple occasions. Smith 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…

The Orlando Sentinel spoke with at least four other regulars who remembered seeing Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times.

In addition to being a regular at the gay club, Mateen also used a gay dating app. Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, said Omar Mateen messaged him on and off for three months prior to the shooting using the gay chat and dating app “Jack’d.”

About the conversations with Mateen, West said:

When he first contacted me, he was saying things like, ‘What clubs are popping and things of that sort, what are good places to go?’ And I remember telling him, ‘Oh, you can just look it up online because I don’t go out that much.’

WABC reports West said he didn’t think anything of it at the time. However, on Sunday morning, after the massacre, he said he met with FBI agents and showed them his communications with Mateen.

According to reports, Mateen walked into Pulse nightclub about 2 a.m. Sunday morning with a semiautomatic pistol and an assault rifle. While dance music blared, he opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring 53.

During the standoff, Mateen proclaimed his allegiance to the Islamic State and his support for the Muslim brothers who set off two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, police said.

The attack is considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. While authorities are still investigating what motivated the gunman, the shooting is being considered at once both a hate crime and an act of terrorism.

Family members say Mateen may have been motivated by hatred for the LGBT community. Mateen’s father told NBC News that the sight of two men kissing angered his son.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweets:

Here’s what reporting we know: several people on the record saying shooter was on several gay dating apps and messaged with them…

Bottom line: Mateen may have been a man unable to reconcile his Muslim-inspired homophobia with his own gayness. Yet his motive, be it Islamic terror, or self-loathing homophobia, or, most probably, a twisted combination of both, ultimately means little to the dead and those that mourn them.

(Image via My Space)
Omar Mateen (Image via My Space)

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