The FBI is investigating if Omar Mateen, the shooter who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, had visited the club before the attack.
Members of the gay community in Orlando have claimed that Mateen had previously visited Pulse on a number of occasions and the FBI is now looking into these claims, according to NBC News.
He also used the gay chat and dating app, Jack’d, clubgoer Kevin West told the Los Angeles Times. At least four other regulars at the nightclub said they had seen him there before on up to a dozen occasions.
Mateen, 29, was born in New York City to Afghan parents. He worked as a private security guard and lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which lies 125 miles south of Orlando, where the massacre took place. He was killed by police during a shootout after he stormed the gay nightclub at around 2 a.m. ET Sunday and carried out the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history, leaving 49 dead and 53 wounded.
The shooter, who has been described as “mentally ill” by his ex-wife, called 911 during the attack and reportedly pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Amaq Agency, a news outlet associated with the so-called Islamic State, reported the terror group claimed responsibility for the violence, which would mark the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“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 said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith continued. “He told us he had a wife and child.”
Other witnesses say that he’d been frequenting the club for at least three years. One recalled Mateen having to be escorted out drunk on multiple occasions, and another said he stopped talking to him after Mateen made violent threats because sofmeone made a joke about religion.