Orlando shooter was gay, says former classmate

Authorities: Omar Mateen kills 50 at gay nightclub
Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 10:52:50-04

Omar Mateen’s former police academy classmate says Mateen was gay and even asked him out on a date, reports WFTV.

The classmate said Mateen and his peers would frequently hang out, sometimes at gay nightclubs, WFTV said.

Los Angeles Times reports that Mateen went to the Pulse nightclub as many as a dozen times before the rampage.

Authorities says Mateen is responsible for killing at least 50 people and injuring dozens of others at a crowded Florida night club Saturday night.

Sources tell WFTV that law enforcement will make an arrest within the next few days of someone who helped Mateen carry out the shooting. 

President Obama is expected to visit Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects to the victims.

The President will “stand in solidarity with the community as they embark on their recovery," says John Earnest, White House press secretary in a written statement. 

All 49 victims have now been identified.

Mateen, 29, was armed with an assault-type rifle and a handgun when he opened fire inside, said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

Mateen was employed as a security guard with G4S and worked in Palm Beach in 2012. He had originally hoped to become a law enforcement officer. Mateen's ex-wife tells the Washington Post that he beat her repeatedly while they were married.

She apparently met Mateen online about eight years ago and decided to move to Florida and marry him. The ex-wife, who wasn’t named in the report, says at first the marriage was normal, but then he became abusive.

"He was not a stable person," his ex-wife said.

After his divorce he became more religious, the Post reports, noting that several years ago went on the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

President Obama said the Orlando night club massacre was "an act of terror and an act of hate."

"This is clearly an act of terrorism," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said during an earlier press conference Sunday.

Mateen called 911 around the time of the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mention the Boston bombers, according to a U.S. official.

It was initially estimated that more than 300 people were inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando, when the gunman opened fire.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning, authorities sent in a SWAT team to rescue the hostages.