Three members of Congress are downplaying their encounters with the father of the gunman at the Orlando gay nightclub, calling the meetings short and insignificant.
Three separate, grainy photos posted on Facebook by Seddique Mir Mateen show him standing next to Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y.
Mateen came to the U.S. from Afghanistan three decades ago and has made a series of rambling political videos about his former homeland.
Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday he met with Mateen about a year and a half ago. Royce said he vaguely recalled a discussion about Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, but he described the meeting as “brief and inconsequential.”
Rohrabacher said Mateen “paid a visit” to his office in November 2014, but he doesn’t recall any specifics.
Hannah Kim, Rangel’s spokeswoman, said the congressman didn’t meet with Mateen and doesn’t remember the encounter. Kim said the photo with Rangel was taken on the day of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in 2015 when “strangers constantly stop members for a photo in the hallways.”
The security company that employed the Orlando nightclub gunman says it has no record of a co-worker’s complaints that the shooter was angry, profane and threatened violence.
The company, G4S, says in a statement Monday that it has no record of any complaint by Daniel Gilroy against Omar Mateen. Mateen died in a gun battle with police after a mass shooting that left 49 people.
Gilroy told The New York Times that Mateen started badgering him and sending dozens of text messages to him daily, and that he reported Mateen’s behavior to his bosses.
However, G4S says Gilroy told company officials in June 2015, shortly after he left the firm, that his co-workers were “good men and women that put in an honest day’s work and genuinely like to work as a team and contribute.”.............
A regular at the club that became the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history say they saw the gunman there drinking on several occasions before the massacre.
Ty Smith told The Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/235LohN ) that he had seen 29-year-old Omar Mateen at the gay bar, Pulse. Smith says Mateen would sit and drink by himself, getting loud and belligerent.
Smith says he did not talk to Mateen much, but that Mateen mentioned having a wife and child.
Authorities say Mateen’s rampage left 49 people dead. He was killed in a gun battle with police...............
Drag Queen: Anti-Gay Terrorist Omar Mateen Was My Friend
Omar Mateen committed the most horrific act of anti-gay violence on U.S. soil. But there was a time when he had gay friends, a high school classmate says.
FORT PIERCE, Florida — Years before he shot up an Orlando gay club in what became the largest mass shooting in American history, Omar Mateen regularly picked up lunch from a drag queen at Ruby Tuesday. He may have even gone to see a drag show or two, a former high school classmate told The Daily Beast.
About 10 years ago, Mateen, a few years out of high school, was working at the supplement store GNC. Samuel King, a year ahead of him in high school, was working next door at the restaurant chain. Mateen was a few years out of playing football in high school while King, who is openly gay, had long, flowing extensions, and prettier hair than most of his female co-workers.
“He always had a smile on his face,” King told The Daily Beast on Sunday. “Maybe it’s because he was working in customer service.”
After seeing the trending news story about the Orlando shooting, King posted his disbelief on Facebook. “I can’t believe i knew this dude…. He worked at GNC at the treasure coast mall when i was at Ruby Tuesday’s and he Graduated from the same high school in 2004,” he wrote. “He was a jokester and at the time didn’t have an issue with the LGBT community.”
Mateen’s father told NBC News that Mateen “got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago” and that he “thought that might be related to the shooting.”
But King saw none of that homophobia. Quite the opposite: He said Mateen knew that he and many of his co-workers at Ruby Tuesday were gay, and didn’t seem to have a problem with it.
“That’s the thing that’s pinning me to the wall the most, that it was a gay nightclub,” King said. “Because he would come into the [the restaurant] and laugh with us.
“He might’ve even sat down at the bar and had a drink and laughed with the bartenders, knowing that they were lesbians,” King added.
These interactions shed new light on a man believed to be motivated by blind hatred for gay people. By the end of his rampage, Mateen had killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in the most deadly terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. During his attack on a sea of dancing young men, Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, announcing himself as a terrorist and mentioning the Boston marathon attackers.
Yet if Mateen was a religious extremist, King didn’t know it, and the topic of religion never came up in conversations. Instead, the two men would greet each other on the street. King likely showed him, like the rest of the employees and regulars, photos in full costume from his performances.