Investigators probing gunman Omar Mateen’s massacre at least 49 people at a popular gay nightclub in Florida are trying to determine whether terrorism, homophobia or both pushed him over the edge.
Investigators are looking into whether religious extremism motivated the attack. Mateen, who lived roughly two hours south of Orlando in Fort Pierce, worked as a security guard.
Daniel Gilroy, a co-worker at G4S Secure Solutions — formerly known as Wackenhut — told NBC News that Mateen was a “very conscientious” employee who was often early for work and was fascinated by law enforcement.
“I needed to be out of that situation,” he said. “I described it as being toxic.”
Mateen “always referred to every other race, religion, gender in a derogatory way,” Gilroy added. “He did not like black people at all. That was mentioned once or twice, but more so was women. He did not like women at all. He did like women in a sexual way, but he did not respect them.”
Mateen didn’t appear to have any direct ties with ISIS, sources said, although he was a follower of ISIS propaganda and referred to the Tsarnaev brothers, who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, at the scene of the shooting.
But while law enforcement delves into what may have radicalized Mateen, who was born in New York and lived in Florida for at least the past decade, his family believes he was fueled by pure hate against the LGBT community.