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Orlando Shooter's Gay Lover Says Attack Was Revenge, Not Terror

  • Jose Louis Morales cries at his brother Edward Sotomayor Jr.'s cross that is part of a memorial for the victims of the Orlando shooting, June 20, 2016.

    Jose Louis Morales cries at his brother Edward Sotomayor Jr.'s cross that is part of a memorial for the victims of the Orlando shooting, June 20, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 June 2016

The revealing interview did not keep U.S. Attorney General Lynch from insisting that the true motive behind Mateen’s massacre may never be known.

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in a hate crime apparently rooted in his own tortured sexuality, harbored anger and resentment against Latino gay men, carried out the massacre out of revenge, not terrorism, a man claiming to be Mateen’s former lover told Univision Tuesday.

FBI Tried to Lure Orlando Shooter into a Terror Plot in 2013

In the exclusive interview, the man — referred to only as Miguel to protect his identity — told Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas that he first met Mateen on the gay dating app Grindr and had a two-months long sexual relationship with Mateen that broke off last December.

Miguel decided to come forward to tell his story because he believes that the shooter “didn’t do it for terrorism,” but out of revenge, saying that Mateen hated gay Puerto Ricans.

The FBI investigation has so far focused on the “Islamist terrorism” angle to explain Mateen’s rampage on June 12, ignoring the many witness reports of Mateen’s likely homosexuality, including the fact that he frequented the Pulse nightclub and also used gay dating apps, that suggest Mateen’s terrorizing act of hate had more to do with his own tortured sexual identity — combined with his history of explosive anger — than with radical Islamic extremism.

His alleged former lover’s account, which Univision could not independently verify beyond confirming that the FBI had spoken to him, has added weight to that version of events.

“Pulse is where he was hurt the most,” Miguel said. “He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin — but he felt rejected,” he said, adding that Mateen also allegedly felt “used” in his homosexual encounters.

"I believe this crazy horrible thing he did—that was revenge," he concluded.

Mateen carried out the massacre on Latin Night at the club.

The Orlando Sentinel and other news organizations quoted regulars from Pulse who said they had seen Mateen there a number of times, and many said he was at best strange, at worst a little scary.

"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," said Ty Smith, who remembered seeing Mateen inside at least a dozen times.

The revealing interview comes as U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Tuesday that the true motive behind Mateen’s massacre may never be known. The FBI released partial and redacted transcripts Monday of Mateen’s conversation with 911 during the shooting, concealing much of three conversations he reportedly had with emergency responders.

Latino and LGBTQ: Attacked but Never Silenced

Miguel also said that Mateen’s wife was allegedly aware that he was gay. He added that he thought Mateen’s father also knew of his son’s homosexuality but didn’t accept it and had “forced him to marry.”

The FBI has reportedly instructed Mateen’s ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy not to speak to U.S. media about his homosexuality or the fact that she, his family, and others believed he was gay, again suggesting authorities may want to downplay the conflicted, self-hating, and homophobic nature of the hate crime in favor of the Islamic terrorism-related one.

Mateen, who worked for the private security company G4S, also had a history of domestic violence in his short marriage with Yusufiy, an obsession with guns and authority, and aggressive behaviors that had alarmed some of his former coworkers.

Many analysts have pointed out that the violent tendencies should have been red flags and that the massacre urgently calls for attention to how a culture of strict gender norms and toxic masculinity are fueling a crisis of male violence in the U.S.

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