The gunman who killed 50 people and injured more than 50 others in a shooting at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday was violent and unstable, according to his ex-wife.
She said she met 29-year-old Omar Mateen about eight years ago online, and their marriage lasted only several months because he was physically abusive.
“He was not a stable person,” she told the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because she fears for her safety. “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”
Mateen’s ex-wife said her parents physically removed her from the two-bedroom condo in Fort Pierce that she shared with him when they learned of the abuse. She said they pulled her out of the house and left all her belongings behind.
“They literally saved my life,” she said, adding that the two never had contact again, despite several attempts by Mateen to reach her.
Mateen, who worked as a security guard at a facility for juvenile delinquents, was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun when he stormed Pulse nightclub and opened fire around 2 am. Sunday. He was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with police.
A motive is still not known. But before the massacre, he placed a phone call to 9-11 and pledged allegiance to terror group ISIS, and ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mateen’s ex-wife, however, said she saw no evidence of him being linked to radical Islam.
“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said.
According to reports, the two married in March of 2009 and officially divorced in 2011. After catching wind of the tragedy in Orlando, Mateen’s ex-wife realizes how close she may have come to losing her life.
“I am still processing. I am very lucky,” she said.