The Orlando gunman: What we know about him
Five things about Omar Mateen, the suspect in the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting which has now become the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. USA TODAY
The shooter suspected of killing 49 people and injuring 53 others inside a gay nightclub early Sunday in Orlando has been identified as Omar Seddique Mateen. Here's what we know about him so far:
• Who is the suspect? Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., about 120 miles southeast of Orlando, is the suspected shooter. FBI Special Agent Ronald Hopper said at a news conference Mateen was a U.S. citizen who was born in New York. Mateen had been employed by the global security firm G4S since September 2007, the company said in a statement, and was not on duty at the time of shooting.
Florida state records list an Omar Mateen as a licensed security officer who also has a statewide firearms license. The suspect was killed by police after a hostage situation at the Pulse nightclub.
• Suspect known to FBI: The FBI first became aware of Mateen in 2013 after he made "inflammatory comments" to co-workers, Hopper said. The FBI "thoroughly investigated" the situation, Hopper said, including interviewing witnesses and conducting surveillance. Mateen was interviewed twice, but the FBI was unable to verify the substance of the comments and the case was closed. Hopper did not elaborate on what the comments were that concerned Mateen's co-workers.
In 2014, Mateen again came to the FBI's attention because of an association with Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who grew up in Florida and carried out a suicide bombing attack in Syria that year. But the FBI determined that the contact was minimal and the case was closed, Hopper said.
Mateen was not currently under investigation or surveillance by FBI, Hopper said.
• Terrorism being investigated: Mateen acknowledged an allegiance to the Islamic State during a 911 call to law enforcement from the nightclub, a federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY. The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said it was believed the call came after the initial round of shooting.
Hopper said authorities are investigating whether there is a connection with radical Islam. "We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology," Hopper said. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told reporters that information he's received from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee staff indicates there may be some connection between the suspect and the Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
• Suspect upset about men kissing: The suspect's father, Seddique Mir Mateen, told NBC News on Sunday that his son had recently expressed anti-gay sentiments and had become angry when he saw two men kissing a few months ago in Miami. He said the attack "had nothing to do with religion." Multiple news outlets said the shooter was a Muslim.
"We were in Downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music," the father told NBC News, "and he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry." Seddique also told NBC News that Mateen was father to a 3-year-old son.
"They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.' And then we were in the men's bathroom and men were kissing each other."
• Mateen's father reportedly supports the Afghan Taliban: Seddique Mateen is of Afghan descent and a U.S. resident. He holds strong political views, including support for the Afghan Taliban, according to a report in the Washington Post. In one video, Mateen expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban, while denouncing the Pakistani government. “Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in (the) Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said. In a video he posted on Saturday, according to the Post, he bizarrely appears to be portraying himself as the president of Afghanistan.
• Most of suspect's life spent in Florida: Mateen spent most of his youth and young adulthood in Florida, according to the Washington Post. He attended a local high school and obtaining an associate’s degree in criminal justice from nearby Indian River State College in 2006, college spokeswoman Michelle Abaldo told the paper.
• Ex-wife says he beat her: Mateen’s ex-wife, speaking to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity but later identified as Sitora Yusufi, said her former husband gave no signs of being a radical Islamist. “He seemed like a normal human being,” she told the paper, but she added that he was violent and mentally unstable and beat her often during their marriage. “He was not a stable person,” she said. “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.” According to records cited by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, the couple, who met online, were married in 2009 and divorced in 2011.
• Ex-schoolmate describes suspect as "dorky"and "disliked": A former middle and high school colleague, Brice Miller, told the Orlando Sentinel that Mateen was non-violent and had been bullied. "You could tell it hurt his feelings," said Miller, who claimed he went to Southport Middle School and St. Lucie West Centennial High School with Mateen, and, "but he would laugh it off."
"He was just dorky," Miller told the paper. "He was disliked, but he always tried to get you to laugh."
Miller knew the suspect as Omar Mir Seddique; however, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel paper, he legally changed his name to Omar Mateen when he was 21.