Witness reports claim Orlando gunman was a regular at Pulse nightclub, used gay dating apps

Published June 14th, 2016 - 07:26 GMT
Eiffel Tower in Paris illuminated in rainbow colours to pay homage to the victims. (Thomas Samson/AFP)
Eiffel Tower in Paris illuminated in rainbow colours to pay homage to the victims. (Thomas Samson/AFP)

At least four patrons have reported seeing the gunman Omar Mateen drinking at the Pulse bar several times prior to the shooting. Ty Smith claimed he saw Mateen in the gay nightclub at least a dozen times.

"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."

"We didn't really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times. He told us he had a wife and child."

Chris Callen, who is married to Mr Smith and works as a performer known as Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press he had also seen Mateen inside the club. "He's been going to this bar for at least three years" said Callen.

Both Callen and Smith recounted how Mateen threatened them with a knife after someone made a joke about religion. After this incident, both stopped speaking to Mateen.  

"He ended up pulling a knife," Callen said. "He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it'll turn out."

In addition to claims that Mateen regularly frequented the gay nightclub before the attack, he is also reported to have used a gay dating app and chat app called Jack'd.

Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, said Mateen messaged him numerious times over the course of a year prior to the attack using the gay chat and dating app Jack'd, according to the LA Times. Mr West handed in his phone and Jack'd log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.

Mr West reported that when he was dropping off a friend at the club on Saturday night, he recognized Mateen – whom he knew by sight but not by name – crossing the street wearing a dark cap and carrying a black mobile phone about 1 am, an hour before the shooting.

"He walked directly past me. I said, 'Hey,' and he turned and said, 'Hey,'" and nodded his head, West said. "I could tell by the eyes."


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