Mateen's former co-worker: He "talked of killing people" but wasn't punished because he was Muslim

It’s hard to tell from this exactly what the employer knew. If this guy’s on the level, their boss at least knew about Mateen’s racist and anti-gay rhetoric, although that’s grounds for dismissal, not for involving the police. If they knew that Mateen was talking about murder, well, that’s something else.

How often after a mass murder do you hear an acquaintance of the killer say, yep, doesn’t surprise me at all?

Daniel Gilroy said he worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift with G4S Security at the south gate at PGA Village for several months in 2014-15. Mateen took over from him for a 3 to 11 p.m. shift.

Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce police officer, said Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments. Gilroy said he complained to his employer several times but it did nothing because he was Muslim. Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages — 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.

“I quit because everything he said was toxic,” Gilroy said Sunday, “and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.”

Gilroy said this shooting didn’t come as a surprise to him.

Did Gilroy ever call the cops on him? Cyberstalking isn’t a priority for police but when the stalker’s talking body counts, maybe they’ll sit up and pay attention. The FBI investigated Mateen twice for possible terrorist activity but didn’t find enough to warrant closely monitoring him. Maybe that would have changed if they’d heard Gilroy’s complaints about Mateen’s lethal aspirations. Or did they hear about it? Apparently they first became aware of him in 2013 when he made “inflammatory comments to coworkers alleging terrorist ties.”

Another person who worked at the security firm with Gilroy and Mateen wasn’t surprised either to learn that he’d finally gone off:

“When I saw his picture on the news, I thought, of course, he did that,” said Eric Baumer, whose security guard shifts at the PGA Golf Club at PGA Village overlapped with Mateen’s in 2015. G4S confirmed Mateen’s employment with them in a statement issued Sunday. “He had bad things to say about everybody — blacks, Jews, gays, a lot of politicians, our soldiers. He had a lot of hate in him. He told me America destroyed Afghanistan.”

Reading that reminded me of the many “red flags” about Nidal Hasan that the Pentagon missed before he brought jihad to Fort Hood. Why didn’t the Defense department watch him more closely when he ranted about holding shari’a law above the Constitution and insisted that “the war on terror [is] a war on Islam”? One theory was that the military was so shorthanded on psychiatrists to treat vets returning from war that they simply couldn’t spare Hasan, a psychiatrist by trade. But there was another theory: Namely, political correctness. The military simply didn’t want a confrontation with a Muslim officer who professed a, shall we say, robust interest in his faith. “People are afraid to come forward and challenge somebody’s ideology,” said one Army officer to Time magazine in 2009, “because they’re afraid of getting an equal-opportunity complaint that can end careers.” Maybe Mateen’s security firm had a similar fear. Is denigrating gays a fireable offense by a Muslim employee or should the firm look the other way on grounds that he’s simply a devout believer in his faith? It was a PR headache in the making. Little did they know the much bigger PR headache that was in store for them a year later.

A former neighbor told Newsday that she remembers hearing Mateen routinely screaming at his wife when she lived next door to him in 2009 and on one occasion hearing the wife asking him to stop hitting her. “There was something the matter there, in his head,” she said. Here’s Mateen’s ex telling ABC about their hellish existence together and making the same point. “I can honestly say this is a sick person,” she says. “This was a sick person that was really confused and went crazy.” I wonder if lone-wolf jihadis are more likely to have diagnosable mental problems than trained terrorist from abroad. A terror operative sent to infiltrate and attack needs a certain degree of mental discipline to maintain his cover and put the plot in place. A lone wolf needs some too, but maybe not as much: If he has access to weapons, he can act quickly on his jihadi sympathies when whatever’s going on in his head lowers his inhibitions. How long was Mateen plotting this?

Update: He may not have been a jihadi for very long but he was a jihadi sympathizer dating back to high school, according to classmates:

Robert Zirkle, then a freshman at the Martin County school, said he saw Mateen excited and making fun of how America was being attacked on 9/11. “He was making plane noises on the bus, acting like he was running into a building,” Zirkle recalled. “I don’t really know if he was doing it cause he was being taught some of that stuff at home or just doing it for attention because he didn’t have a lot of friends.”…

One former student told Zirkle on Facebook that on 9/11 as the students were watching the TV in class. On the group chat, the former student wrote that Mateen “stood up in class during the 9/11 attack and after the second plane hit the building he started jumping up-and-down cheering on the terrorist.”

Supposedly he told another classmate, “That’s what America deserves.”