Omar Mateen, a 29-year old native New Yorker, killed 49 people and injured 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The club is a popular hangout for the city’s LGBTQ community, and the shooting occurred during Pride weekend. Mateen had been employed as a security guard since September 10, 2007, with G4S, a British-based security company that contracts with the US Department of Homeland Security.
G4S has been one of the American government’s largest contractors following the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks, and is just one of many companies to get a piece of the almost $115 billion in yearly counterrorism funds that became available as a result. But where there was an abundance of cash, there seemed to be lack in oversight.
Before Mateen opened fire in Orlando, he pledged allegiance to the terrorist group Daesh, also known as ISIS/Islamic State, and told the 911 operator, "I’m doing this to protest the U.S. bombing in Syria and Iraq and the killing of women and children… I’m doing this in solidarity with the Tsarnaev brothers and Moner Abu-Salha." He had been investigated by the FBI in 2013 for startling coworkers with "statements that were inflammatory and contradictory," according to FBI Director James Comey.
"First, he claimed family connections to al Qaeda," he said. "He also said that he was a member of Hezbollah, which is a Shia terrorist organization and a bitter enemy of the Islamic State, or ISIL. He said that he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so he could martyr himself. When this was reported to us, the FBI’s Miami office opened a preliminary investigation."
The FBI investigated him again in 2014 to discern if he was connected to Moner Abu-Salha, the American-born suicide bomber that Mateen mentioned in his 911 call before Sunday’s shooting. Comey said "Our investigation turned up no ties."
Mateen was also an abusive husband, according to his ex-wife, an Uzbek woman named Sitora Yusufiy. "He was totally two different people sometimes, and would turn and abuse me, out of nowhere, when I was sleeping," she said. Yusufiy also claimed that Mateen had made homophobic comments in her presence, but didn’t espouse solidarity with radical Islamists. "There were definitely moments when he’d express his intolerance toward homosexuals," she recalled.
G4S said in a statement that Mateen’s 2007 background check "revealed nothing of concern," and that, "His screening was repeated in 2013 with no findings."
Mateen retained a security license which enabled him to legally carry the Glock handgun he had with him on Saturday night. He was able to purchase the military-style semi-automatic assault rifle he used in the killings from the Port St. Lucie Shooting Center in Florida, as no special permit is required in the state to buy that kind of weapon.