Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, was no stranger to the popular gay bar, according to witnesses and parties working with the FBI.
“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, a Pulse regular, told the Orlando Sentinel.
The FBI is parsing the 29-year-old shooter’s life, looking for clues that led up to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Agents investigating Mateen told “Good Morning America” they’ve also heard accounts that he was spotted on dating apps for men, including Jack'd, Adam4Adam and Grindr.
The new details indicate that the attack on Pulse nightclub may not have been random, and that Mateen was actually well-acquainted with the club where he opened fire on Sunday morning, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others.
Several regular Pulse customers recalled seeing Mateen at the club at various times and described his behavior as erratic.
“Sometimes he would be there for a few weeks at a time, and maybe on the weekends, and then you wouldn’t see him for a little while, then you’d see him again and that’s the way it kind of went,” James Van Horn, a frequent visitor to Pulse, told “Good Morning America.”
Pulse security guard Estella Peterkin recalled having to kick Mateen out for bad behavior on several occasions.
In a statement released Tuesday, Jack'd said it could neither confirm nor deny that Mateen had a profile with the app, but added that the business would cooperate with authorities. Grindr did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
David Lesage, a spokesman for Adam4Adam, said a user told the company he had been in contact with Mateen least year through the app, but Lesage said the company couldn't verify that report since a conversation that old wouldn't still be stored on servers.
Officials are also investigating Mateen’s ties to terrorist groups. The New York-born gunman was fatally shot by police during Sunday’s attack.
This story has been updated to include comment from Jack'd and Adam4Adam.
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