We’ve already seen evidence that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a regular at Pulse nightclub, and at least one patron saying he was there not to case the joint but to pick up men. Now a man who claims to have had a “friends with benefits” arrangement with Mateen says the killer acted not out of religious motives but revenge. Univision reports:
The man, who did not want his true identity revealed, agreed to an interview wearing a disguise and calling himself Miguel. Speaking in fluent Spanish and accented English, he said he met Mateen last year through a gay dating site and began a relationship soon after. He and Mateen were “friends with benefits,” he said.
He described Mateen as “a very sweet guy” who never showed a violent side. He loved to be cuddled. “He was looking for love,” he said.
It’s a little difficult to picture the mass shooter who had a violent streak going back to elementary school as someone who just loved to cuddle. The fact that “Miguel” is using a disguise and a fake name to tell this story doesn’t help his credibility. That said, Miguel claims there was a very specific incident that set Mateen off, a sexual encounter with two men, one of whom turned out to be HIV positive:
Mateen was especially upset after a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed he was HIV positive, he added.
“He [Omar] was terrified that he was infected,” he said. “I asked him, ‘Did you do a test?’ Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test … it came out negative but it doesn’t come out right away. It takes 4, 5 months.”
Is it possible to verify this story? In theory there are at least two men could come forward to confirm it.
Meanwhile, we also know that Mateen was a “devout Muslim” and the person who gave his name to the FBI says he admitted to watching (and being impressed by) Anwar al-Awlaki videos. That was back in 2014. And of course we know that, during the attack, he told a 911 dispatcher that he was doing this as revenge for the bombing of Syria and pledged allegiance to ISIS, something even “Miguel” says he had expressed concern about.
Given his history, it’s a bit difficult to believe Mateen’s attack was about revenge and not at all about the thing he said it was about. These claims, made by one witness in disguise, just are not enough to dismiss all the evidence to the contrary.