The former spouse of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen said that he was mentally unstable and often beat her while they were married.
“He was not a stable person,” the ex-wife said in an interview with the Washington Post.
“He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”
However, Mateen hadn’t always been this way. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two had met online around 8 years ago, after which she moved to Florida to marry him. She said the couple’s marriage was normal at first.
“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said, adding that Mateen didn’t seem very religious and was a frequent gym-goer.
“He was a very private person,” she said.
Later, when the abuse had become frequent, the ex-wife’s parents were notified and they flew to the couple’s home in Fort Pierce, Florida—they had to physically drag her out of the house.
The woman had to leave all of her possessions, but was thankful for her parent’s intervention.
“They literally saved my life,” she said.
The divorce officially occurred in 2011. The couple had been married for just a few months.
“I am still processing. I am definitely lucky,” she said, regarding the recent events in Orlando.
More About Mateen
In the same interview, the woman adds more details about Mateen. She said the man’s family was from Afghanistan, though Mateen himself was born in New York. Mateen later moved to Florida, where he graduated with an associate degree from Indian State River College in 2007.
When she was living with him, she said he worked for a security company, and at one time worked as a guard at a facility for juvenile delinquents. Being a guard, he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She said Mateen owned a small-caliber handgun.
Several acquaintances of Mateen also spoke with the Washington Post. An unidentified friend said that Mateen had steadily become more religious, though never showed any form of religious extremism.
Iman Shafiq Rahman of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce said Mateen was a frequent visitor of the mosque, and would often come to pray with his father and son.
“He was the most quiet guy, he never talked to anyone,” Rahman said. “He would come and pray and leave. There was no indication at all the he would do something violent.”