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The FBI said it has not found evidence that the Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was leading a gay lifestyle.
Following the deadly attack at the Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, reports emerged claiming that Mateen used gay dating apps, had gay lovers and was even a frequent visitor to the Pulse nightclub, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Several people came forward claiming to have seen Mateen at the club or been contacted by him using gay dating apps like Grindr. One man in a report broadcast by Univision said he had had sex with Mateen after meeting on Grindr, according to the Times.
But FBI investigators announced there was no truth to the reports, having combed through the gunman’s electronic devices, including a laptop computer and cellphone, and the electronic communications of those who made the claims, according to law enforcement officials.
Investigators said the men making the claims were not credible or had mistaken Mateen for someone else. The FBI found no evidence that the 29 year-old, who was married twice to women and had a young son, lived a secret gay life, the Times reported.
But some are not buying the FBI’s conclusions.
Kevin West, 29, said he recognized Mateen when he entered the club on the night of the shooting and had been messaged by him on a dating app. West, a Navy veteran and Pulse regular, said he recognized Mateen from a photo he had posted on the app which matched the one released by authorities after the shooting.
Cord Cedeno, 23, claimed to have communicated with Mateen on Grindr and believes the FBI is trying to “cover up” something, saying he does not doubt others’ accounts about Mateen.
“The FBI obviously is trying to cover up their information,” he said, referring to reports of gay men being contacted by Mateen. “I can go take a lie detector test. I know for a fact Omar messaged me.”
While West turned his phone and app passwords over to police and FBI investigators, Cedeno did not contact police to tell them about his communication with Mateen, the Times reported. Friends who did contact police had their phones taken away, Cedeno said, and were told not to talk to reporters.
Cedeno did not trust the FBI since they had investigated Mateen in 2013 and 2014, placed him on a terrorist watch list and then removed him from the list. He even went so far as to blame investigators for the attack, according to the Times.
“They let him go. They let him do this massacre. They could have arrested him. It just does not add up,” Cedeno said.
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