June 13, 2016 at 10:52 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Reports: Orlando shooter patron at nightclub, on gay hookup apps

Omar Mateen, gay news, Washington Blade

Omar Mateen (Photo courtesy Myspace)

The shooter who killed nearly 50 people at an Orlando nightclub over the weekend was a patron of the establishment and was recognized after the incident from gay hookup applications, according to media reports.

The Los Angeles Times and the Orlando Sentinel quote multiple sources as saying Omar Mateen had been spotted drinking at the Pulse Nightclub a various times prior to the shooting. According to media outlets, Mateen also interacted online using profiles on Grindr, Adam4Adam and Jack’d.

Kevin West, who frequently visits Pulse Nightclub, reportedly said Mateen messaged him on and off for a year on Jack’d before the shooting. The two never met until early Sunday just prior to the attack when West was dropping off a friend at the club.

“He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey,’” and nodded his head,” West was quoted as saying. “I could tell by the eyes.”

Ty Smith, another patron at the club, is quoted as saying he saw Mateen at there at least a dozen times prior to the shooting.

“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,” Smith, who also uses the name Aries, is quoted as saying.

On MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes, Cord Cedeno, who frequents Pulse nightclub and lost friends there, recognized Mateen from his photos as someone who had messaged him on Grindr.

“I recognize him from one of the apps, but I instantly blocked him because he was like very creepy in his messages and I blocked him immediately,” Cedeno said.

Cedeno said Mateen was also on Jack’d and came into the Pulse Nightclub “several times.” Further, Cedeno said he has a friend who recognizes Mateen from 2007 on the Adam4Adam website.

“I think one of them he didn’t have his pictures up, but he would send them to guys,” Cedeno said. “I know there’s plenty of other guys that he’s tried to contact and hook up from. A lot of them are scared to come out and tell the FBI.”

Mateen, 29, was divorced from his wife, who reportedly said he was quick to anger and would beat her during their relationship. With her, Mateen has a three-year old son. Prior to the shooting, Mateen reportedly called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, which is known for its execution of people perceived as LGBT.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation of the shooting in conjunction with local law enforcement, had no comment in response to a Washington Blade inquiry on whether the agency corroborate Mateen was a patron at the nightclub or on gay hookup apps.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

1 Comment
  • Was he a methodical killer slowly stalking his prey? Since he had his wife drive him to the bar it wouldn’t appear that he was on the down low or self-loathingly repressing his feelings. It’s pretty brazen and arrogant.

    I’m always wary of guys he refuse to show their pictures on line and tell you they will e-mail them to you. What are you hiding? Are you dealing with a person waiting to hookup with his first serial killing victim?

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