Days after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, more revelations are surfacing about Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who was rumored to be gay.
Mateen apparently frequented Pulse nightclub over the years and even flirted with men at the hot spot. Bar patron Jim Van Horn told Daily Mail, "He's a homosexual and he was trying to pick up men. He would walk up to them and put his arm around them or something and maybe try to get them to dance a little bit or something and go over and buy them a drink."
Van Horn claimed he had a conversation with Mateen one night, but his friends intervened. He shared, "They said they didn't want me talking to him because he was a strange person."
Chris Callen, a drag queen who goes by the name Kristina McLaughlin, said she, too, had seen Mateen at the nightclub where he would end up killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. Callen said, “He's been going to this bar for at least three years."
Callen’s husband Ty Smith had negative memories of Mateen, telling Orlando Sentinel, "Sometimes he… would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent."
Callen and Smith interacted with Mateen until he threatened them with a knife over the topic of religion. Callen explained, “He ended up pulling a knife. He said if he ever messed with him again, 'you know how it’ll turn out.'" The two also shut down Mateen’s father’s claim that Mateen had recently grown angry after seeing two men kissing in public, saying, "That’s bullcrap, right there. No offense. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us. 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?"
Mateen also allegedly pursued men with the help of dating apps, including Jack’d, Grindr, and Adam4Adam. Cord Cedeno, an Orlando local who saw Mateen at Pulse a few times, said in an interview with MSNBC, "I recognized him from one of the apps, but I instantly blocked him because he was, like, very creepy in his messages off Grindr. He was very creepy in his messages, and I blocked him immediately… I recognized him off Grindr. [The picture] of him in the tie."
One of the men that Mateen reportedly messaged, Kevin West, even saw him just one hour before the shooting. West told the Los Angeles Times, "He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey.’ I could tell by the eyes [it was him]."
A man who is a former classmate of Mateen's said he was asked out romantically by Mateen when they were hanging out in 2006. He told Palm Beach Post, "We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer."
Mateen’s ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy also believed that he had "gay tendencies," according her fiancé Marco Dias, who spoke to Brazilian television station SBT Brazil. He reports that Mateen was called gay in an insulting way by his father in front of Yusufiy during their three-month marriage.
Authorities have not verified any of these reports yet, but some men who reported interacting with Mateen on dating apps have reportedly turned their phones over to the FBI.
NBC News reports that Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, is speaking with the FBI and told agents she knew about her husband's plan to attack Pulse, drove him there to research his target, and tried to stop him from carrying out the shooting.
Salman was reportedly present when Mateen was buying ammunition and a holster before the rampage. Since she remained quiet about his plans, authorities are considering filing criminal charges against her for failing to report what she knew. No decision has yet been made.