Update, 11:15 p.m.: The private-security company G4S has announced in a statement that it employed Mateen at a gated retirement community in South Florida. A co-worker who spoke to Florida Today described Mateen as homophobic, racist, and “unhinged.”
Original post, 1:53 p.m.: Early Sunday morning, 29-year-old security guard Omar Saddiqui Mateen rented a van and drove 120 miles from his home in Fort Pierce, Florida, to Orlando, where he shot and killed at least 50 people in an LGBTQ nightclub called Pulse. Here’s what we know about his life so far.
According to CNN, ABC News, and others, Mateen was born in 1986 to Afghan parents in New York but has lived in Florida for at least a decade. He had no prior criminal history but became “a person of interest” to the FBI in 2013 and again in 2014. Mateen had been “on the radar” for the FBI for “at least five years,” CBS News confirmed. At one point, according to the Daily Beast, the FBI opened an investigation into him, but the agency closed it with no results. Agency officials told CNN that federal authorities suspected Mateen of being “an ISIS sympathizer.” NBC News is reporting that Mateen called 911 before the shooting to swear his allegiance to the head of ISIS.
Mateen was a professionally licensed private security officer in Fort Pierce and nearby Port St. Lucie, and according to TMZ, he also held a statewide concealed-carry license.
Mateen’s ex-wife, an as-yet-unnamed woman from New Jersey, told the Washington Post that she met the shooter online about eight years ago and moved to Florida in March 2009 to marry him. She says Mateen repeatedly beat her while they were married: “He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.” She added that Mateen was a private person who was not very religious, worked out often at a nearby gym, and worked as a guard at “a facility for juvenile delinquents.” The marriage ended after only a few months when the ex-wife’s parents learned of the abuse and pulled her out of the couple’s condominium, which Mateen’s family owned. According to the Post, Mateen has reached out to her since their split but she has not spoken to him. They formally divorced in 2011.