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Orlando Shooter Claimed Religion Led to Police Academy Rejection

( [email protected] ) Jun 17, 2016 10:59 AM EDT
The shooter that left 49 Americans dead and 53 wounded at an Orland, Fla., gay nightclub on June 12 graduated from community college with a criminal justice degree, worked as a security guard and apparently wanted to be a police officer. But when a police academy rejected Omar Mateen's application, he complained he was denied due to his Muslim faith.
Many of the photos surfacing of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen show him in New York Police Department shirts, such as this one. He killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, and wounded 53 others, before being killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages. MySpace

The shooter that left 49 Americans dead and 53 wounded at an Orland, Fla., gay nightclub on June 12 graduated from community college with a criminal justice degree, worked as a security guard and apparently wanted to be a police officer. But when a police academy rejected Omar Mateen's application, he complained he was denied due to his Muslim faith.

Mateen, 29, was a devout Muslim and bodybuilder. He, too, died during the brutal attack at Pulse.

Mateen graduated in 2006 from Indian River Community College with a degree in criminal justice technology. In 2015, Mateen sought to attend a police academy at Indian River State College to become a police officer, but his application was denied, reports ABC News.

"This is a selective admission program, and he was not selected for admission," college spokesman Robert Lane said. "He was offered the opportunity to appeal this admission decision, but opted not to appear for an appeal hearing." Lane did not provide a specific reason to ABC for why Mateen was denied.

On Oct. 19, 2015, Mateen reportedly complained to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement he wasn't accepted because he was Muslim, agency spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. The department, which certifies police officers, referred him back to the training academy, she said.

Associated Press journalists reported reviewing Mateen's certificate of firearms proficiency and other security officer license-related documents, which showed that on Aug. 16, 2015, his range score was 203 and his written exam score was 96. The top range score is 240, and the minimum necessary to pass is 168. On the written test, 100 is the top score and 70 percent is needed to pass.

Mateen's tests included firing a .38-caliber revolver, a .357-caliber revolver, and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Authorities said he was armed with an assault rifle and handgun during the nightclub attack.

Florida records show Mateen was determined to be mentally and emotionally stable in September 2007 so he could work for The Wackenhut Corp., later renamed G4S Secure Solutions.  He also stated in his 2007 firearm application he had not been diagnosed with a mental illness nor had a history of alcohol or substance abuse. G4S has said that Mateen was subjected to "detailed company screening" when he was recruited to work for the company in 2007, and was re-screened again in 2013 with no adverse findings, reports ABC News.

As investigators retraced Mateen's movements and tried to talk to anyone who came in contact with him over the last several years, ABC News reports a number of possible motives and explanations have surfaced.

Toward the end of the shooting spree, Mateen called 911 to profess allegiance to the Islamic State group. His former wife has claimed he was mentally ill. His father suggested he hated gays. However, on Monday, a day after the shooting, a former classmate and other acquaintances told several media outlets that Mateen may have been gay. The former classmate at a community college told the Palm Beach Post that Mateen once asked him out. Others who knew him said he frequented the Pulse nightclub for several years before the shooting and also used gay dating apps.

Mateen's father told the Post that his son is not gay.

ABC News cited a newly unearthed clip from a film documentary about the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which shows Mateen - then working as a security guard at a cleanup site in Florida - talking cynically about people who make money off disasters. The clip from 2012's "The Big Fix" showed Mateen chatting with an undercover film crew, saying no one cared about the cleanup.

"Everybody's just out to get paid. They're like hoping for more oil to come out and more people to complain so they'll have the jobs," he tells a woman who pulls up to his guard booth.

Security firm G4S confirmed Wednesday that the guard in the clip is Mateen, reports ABC News. He was stationed in Pensacola for several months 2010 to assist with the oil spill cleanup, G4S spokeswoman Sarah Booth said.

Mateen was employed with G4S since September 2007, most recently at a golf course community near his Fort Pierce, Fla., home.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said Mateen was removed from an assignment at the county's courthouse in 2013 after he made inflammatory comments about women, Jews and a shooting at Fort Hood. FBI agents investigated Mateen due to his comments, and again in 2014, based on his ties to a Syrian suicide bomber from Florida. However, both cases were closed without the agency taking action.

 

 

Tags : Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, Muslim, Pulse, G4S, religion, Florida shooter, LGBT, radical Islam