A man claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub June 12, said in an exclusive interview with Univision that Mateen was motivated by “revenge” and not terrorism.
“I’ve cried like you have no idea,” the man told Univision News Tuesday. “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.”
The Spanish-language television network hid Miguel’s identity: they didn’t use his real name, he wore a prosthetic mask and the television station altered the man’s voice. Univision was unable to independently verify the man’s account, but the FBI confirmed to the network that it had interviewed him.
Global News has not been able to independently confirm the statements made in the interview.
“The FBI has talked to over 500 people throughout this case; and will continue to seek information from anyone who claims to have it,” FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said in a statement to Global News.
“We are not at liberty to confirm or deny specific interviews, nor the credibility of content discussed due to the ongoing investigation.”
The man said he met Mateen on the gay dating app Grindr and claimed they met 15 to 20 times over two months before the relationship ended last December.
“Miguel” described their relationship as “friends with benefits,” and said he was shocked to hear Mateen was the shooter.
He told Univision that Mateen was furious after a man he had sex with later revealed he was HIV positive.
“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin — but he felt rejected,” Miguel said. “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.”
“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,’” he added.
Following the June 12 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the FBI announced it was investigating whether Mateen had been a regular at the dance club and had been leading a secret life as a gay man.
Jim Van Horn, 71, told The Associated Press that he repeatedly saw Mateen at the bar and talked to him once.
“He was a homosexual and he was trying to pick up men,” Van Horn said. “He would walk up to them and then he would maybe put his arm around ’em or something and maybe try to get them to dance a little bit or something.”
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However, the FBI released a partial transcript of Mateen’s 911 calls during the shooting where he pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State and its leader. Authorities have no evidence that a foreign terrorist group directed the deadly shooting saying it appears he was “self-radicalized.”
In an interview with Global News, Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, said he doesn’t believe his son was gay and only learned about those claims through news reports.
The FBI is continuing to investigate the shooting and urges the public to provide information about the shooter and any contact they may have had with him.
To provide a tip, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit tips.fbi.gov.