Omar Mateen, the Muslim gunman who committed the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, was “100 percent” gay and bore a grudge against Latino men because he felt used by them, according to a man who says he was his lover for two months.
“I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” he told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview in English and Spanish on Tuesday.
He said Mateen was angry and upset after a man he had sex with later revealed he was infected with the HIV virus.
Asked why he decided to come forward with his story, he said: “It’s my responsibility as a citizen of the United States and a gay man.”
The man said he had approached the FBI and been interviewed three times in person by agents.
Univision was unable to independently verify his account. The FBI confirmed to Univision that it had met with him.
The man, who did not want his true identity revealed, agreed to an interview wearing a disguise and calling himself Miguel. Speaking in fluent Spanish and accented English, he said he met Mateen last year through a gay dating site and began a relationship soon after. He and Mateen were “friends with benefits,” he said.
He described Mateen as “a very sweet guy” who never showed a violent side. He loved to be cuddled. “He was looking for love,” he said.
When Miguel heard about the massacre on the news he said he was stunned. “My reaction was that can’t be the man I know. It’s impossible that the man I know could do that,” he said.
Mateen opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle during a Latin-themed night at Pulse in the early hours of June 12, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more. He was killed in a shootout with police hours later. Most of the dead were Hispanic.
Investigators are still looking into the motives for his rampage.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters on Tuesday that investigators may never be able to pinpoint a single motive and have not ruled out witness reports suggesting Mateen might have had gay interests. “While we know a lot more about him in terms of who he was and what he did, I do not want to definitively rule out any particular motivation here,” she said.
In a 911 call from the club, Mateen pledged solidarity with the Islamic State group, and officials say he had explored websites of armed Islamic extremists.
Miguel recalled on one occasion Mateen expressed his criticism of the U.S. war on terrorism and the killing of innocent women and children. “‘I told him, you’re totally right,'” said Miguel.
Mateen never revealed his name to him, saying only that he was 35 years old and married with a son, Miguel told Univision. He said they met 15-20 times, the last occasion in late December. He said he believed Mateen’s second wife knew he frequented gay bars and that his marriage was a smoke screen to hide that he was “100 percent” gay.
“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin – but he felt rejected. He felt used by them – there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,” Miguel said. “I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was revenge.”
Mateen, who liked to drink, expressed frustration over his father’s extreme views on homosexuality, which included a belief that “gay people [are] the devil and gay people have to die,” Miguel said.
Mateen was especially upset after a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed he was HIV positive, he added.
“He [Omar] was terrified that he was infected,” he said. “I asked him, ‘Did you do a test?’ Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test … it came out negative but it doesn’t come out right away. It takes 4, 5 months.”
“When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was ‘I’m going to make them pay for what they did to me.'”