FBI Has Found No Evidence So Far That Orlando Shooter Targeted Pulse Because It Was a Gay Club

Adam Goldman, Washington Post, July 15, 2016

The FBI has found no evidence so far that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded more than 53 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, chose the popular establishment because of its gay clientele, U.S law enforcement officials said.

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Soon after the shooting in the early morning of June 12, top U.S officials such as the FBI director and U.S. attorney general described it as both a hate crime and an act of Islamic terrorism. The shooting rattled the gay community, which felt singled out by Mateen.

“People often act out of more than one motivation,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in the days after the attack. “This was clearly an act of terror and an act of hate.”

A month later, though, a complete picture of what motivated Mateen remains murky and may never be known since he was killed in a shootout with police and did not leave a manifesto. Officials said there is no evidence thus far that Mateen, 29, was gay or that his attack was motivated by homophobia.

The assessment is based on interviews and an examination of his computer and other electronic media.

After the attack, speculation surfaced that Mateen was gay as people came forward to say they had seen him at the club previously and had contact with him on gay dating apps. One man told the Spanish-language television network Univision that he had slept with Mateen.

Even Mateen’s first wife, Sitora Yusufiy, raised the possibility that Mateen was possibly gay but conceded it was a suspicion and nothing more. His current wife did not think he was gay, according to a person familiar with the case.

The FBI, however, has been unable to verify that Mateen used gay dating apps and instead has found evidence that Mateen was cheating on his wife with other women.

Officials said there is nothing to suggest that he attempted to cover up his tracks by deleting files. They also added he did not make gay slurs during the shooting spree inside the club, based on witnesses.

In a 911 call, Mateen pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State and did not make any homophobic comments. {snip}

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