Gunman who killed 50 people in Florida was mentally sick
KABUL (Pajhwok): The gunman who killed 50 people and injured another 53 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history was emotionally and mentally disturbed, his ex-wife said on Sunday.
Sitora Yusufiy, the former spouse of Omar Mateen, 29, told reporters she was "rescued" by family members from her ex-husband after four months of a stormy marriage that ended in divorce.
She said Mateen was a body builder and a security guard, a religious man who attended the local mosque and wanted to become a police officer. Mateen had no criminal record, and purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so, according to Trevor Velinor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Early Sunday, Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, leaving 50 people dead and 53 wounded, police said.
Mateen was the son of an Afghan immigrant who had a talk show in the United States, the nature of which was not entirely clear: A former Afghan official said the program was pro-Taliban and a former colleague said it was enthusiastically pro-American.
He attended evening prayer services at the city's Islamic Center three to four times a week, most recently with his young son, said Imam Syed Shafeeq Rahman. Although he was not very social, he also showed no signs of violence, Rahman said. He said he last saw Mateen on Friday.
Although records show the couple didn't divorce for two years after the marriage. The ex-wife said she was actually only with Mateen for four months because he was abusive. She said he would not let her speak to her family and that family members had to come and literally pull her out of his arms.
Yusufiy said he wanted to be a police officer and had applied to the police academy. Mateen was a security guard at the G4S company, which identifies itself on its website as "the leading global integrated security company."
Authorities immediately began investigating whether Sunday's attack was an act of terrorism. A law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity the gunman made a 911 call from the nightclub professing allegiance to the leader of the militant Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Yusufiy said she was “devastated, shocked, started shaking and crying” when she heard about the shooting, but she attributed the violence to Mateen's mental illness, not any alliance with terrorist groups.
Rahman agreed and said “My personal opinion is that this has nothing to do with ISIS,” he said. Rahman said he knew Mateen and his family since the shooter was a young boy. Playful as a child, he became more serious as an adult, Rahman said.
He spoke both English and Farsi, and was into body building. He was not, as far as the imam could see, someone who would ever commit such a gruesome act of mass violence. “It was totally unexpected,” Rahman said.
Seddique Mir Mateen, the father of the alleged shooter, is a life insurance salesman who started a group in 2010 called Durand Jirga, Inc., according to Qasim Tarin, a businessman from California who was a Durand Jirga board member. The name refers to the Durand line, the long disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Tarin said Seddique Mir Mateen had a television show on which they discussed issues facing Afghanistan. "It's shocking," he said about the shooting. "(Omar Mateen's) father loves this country."
Some of Seddique Mir Mateen's shows were taped and later posted on YouTube. During one episode, a sign in the background read: “Long live the USA! Long live Afghanistan. ... Afghans are the best friends to the USA."
But a former Afghan official said the "Durand Jirga Show" appears on Payam-i-Afghan, a California-based channel that supports ethnic solidarity with the Afghan Taliban, which are mostly Pashtun.
Omar Khatab, the owner of the California-based satellite channel Payam-i-Afghan, said Seddique Mateen would show up at his studio in Canoga Park, California, "three or four times a year" to tape his shows.
"He'd talk for about two to three hours," Khatab said in a phone interview. "He'd buy his own time and come here and broadcast and leave within a day."
Viewers from Pashtun communities in the United States regularly call in to the channel to espouse support for Pashtun domination of Afghanistan over the nation's minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks, the official said.
The "Durand Jirga Show" expresses support for the Taliban, has an anti-Pakistan slant, complains about foreigners in Afghanistan and criticizes US actions there, the official said.
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