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Published: Monday, June 13, 2016 @ 10:00 PM
Updated: Monday, June 13, 2016 @ 11:45 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. — A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said he believed Mateen was gay, saying Mateen once asked him out.
Officials say Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning.
The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs, after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy. He said Mateen asked him out romantically.
“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate said. He asked that his name not be used.
He believed Mateen was gay, but not open about it. Mateen was awkward, and for a while the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him.
“He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him,” he said. “He was always socially awkward.”
In Orlando, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mateen attended the Pulse nightclub possibly as many as a dozen times before the rampage. Kevin West said he had messaged Mateen back and forth over a year’s time on the gay dating app Jack’d but never met him until he saw Mateen crossing the street about 1 a.m. Sunday.
“He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey,’” and nodded his head, West said. “I could tell by the eyes.”
At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen Mateen there before.
“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.
He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he told the Sentinel. “We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith said. “He told us he had a wife and child.”
The Canadian Press reported Monday that Mateen had been seen there over three years.
Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pointed a knife at a friend. Said Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
In a text with Mateen's ex-wife WFTV reporter Christopher Heath asked if she knew he used gay dating websites, to which she replied, ”It seems likely."
Mateen’s father emphatically told The Post Monday that his son was not gay.
“If he was gay, why would he do something like this?” Seddique Mateen asked.
The former classmate said the group, including Mateen, went to four gay clubs in the Treasure Coast and West Palm Beach in 2006: Kashmir Night Club in West Palm Beach, Byrd Cage in Port St. Lucie, Cold Keg in Melbourne and Rebar in Port St. Lucie.
All but Cold Keg have since closed, and the owner there said he hadn’t seen Mateen.
Neither had one of the former owners of Kashmir, who said none of his former employees have reached out to him, either.
Rebar closed in February and became Tattle Tails. The owner of Tattle Tails, Johnscott Willett, said Monday that he did not recognize Mateen. Willett said he worked for nine years at Rebar and didn’t recognize him from his time there, either.
He said St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputies visited the club on Sunday and asked if he recognized Mateen.
After hearing that Mateen had shot up the nightclub, he said he felt angry, then betrayed.
He said Mateen graduated from the academy.
Mateen never became an officer in Florida.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 12:15 PM
It was just another newscast this morning for WSB Radio in Atlanta. It was just another newscast on WDBO in Orlando, WHIO in Dayton, WOKV in Jacksonville, and KRMG in Tulsa. But it was much more than that for me, as my voice – my new, computer generated voice – went on the air today, getting me back on the radio for the first time in two years, after my voice was taken away by an unknown neurological disorder.
I tuned in from home to see how it would sound. It all seemed so normal. The anchor reading the intro. “More from Jamie Dupree in Washington.” And then my story played on the radio, just like up until the spring of 2016.
A few hours later, I got to work, and there was breaking news from the Supreme Court, as the Justices sidestepped a ruling on two cases dealing with gerrymandering of legislative district lines.
It all felt so normal. I typed up my story, fed it out to my stations, and it hit the air.
At home it seemed normal. But at work in the Capitol, when it played out in real time – the moment hit home.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 8:20 AM
— A child’s accident that broke a piece of art may cost a family in Kansas City $132,000.
Sarah Goodman and her husband and child were at a wedding reception at Overland Park’s Tomahawk Ridge Community Center. Sarah told the Kansas City Star her family was getting ready to leave and was saying goodbye to the bride’s father and they heard a noise on May 19.
When they went to investigate, a glass sculpture was on the ground.
Goodman told The Star, “He probably hugged it. Maybe my son hugged a torso because he’s a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool.”
The parents may be paying the bill for that hug. Goodman said she received a letter from Travelers insurance that stated:
“This loss occurred when your son was in a closed area of the property and toppled a glass sculpture. Under common law in Kansas, you are responsible for the supervision of a minor child and your failure to monitor them during this loss could be considered negligent,” The Star reported.
In surveillance video however, people are seen in the same room where the sculpture was located.
The letter then asked the Goodmans for their insurance information.
Goodman says that while she is working with her home owners insurance company, KSHB reported, she shouldn’t have to pay the bill because the sculpture was not marked do not touch. It was also not roped off from visitors or secured in her opinion.
“It’s in the main walkway. Not a separate room. No Plexiglass. Not protected. Not held down,” Goodman told KSHB. “There was no border around it. There wasn’t even a sign around it that said, ‘Do not touch.’”
A spokesperson for Overland Park says that the sculpture was on loan and that the city is responsible to protect it, but added that it was not to be touched.
“There’s a societal responsibility that you may not interact with it if it’s not designated for interaction,” Sean Reilly told KSHB.
Goodman said she has not figured out how she will pay the value of the glass sculpture and she’s upset that no one from the city has shown concern for her son after the accident.
“He’s honestly been having bad dreams every night,” Goodman told KSHB. “None of these people have ever once said, ‘How is Troy? how is your son holding up? Is his face OK?’”
Goodman told police, who were called to the scene because of a disturbance, that her son had injuries to his face, but police said it was a civil matter, The Star reported.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 12:46 PM
Updated: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 12:46 PM
— White House officials pushed back Monday against critics of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy has led to the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Update 12:46 p.m. EDT June 18: President Donald Trump again accused Democrats of obstructing efforts to deal with illegal immigration and the separation of children and parents at the border, telling reporters Monday that “we’re stuck with these horrible laws” because Democrats refuse to sit down with Republicans.
There are no laws mandating the separation of children and parents at the border.
“We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world,” Trump said. “Nobody has such sad, such bad – and in many cases, such horrible and tough – you see about child separation. You see what’s going on there.”
Pres. Trump again blames Democrats for his administration's policy of separating migrant families at U.S.-Mexico border.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 18, 2018
"If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing we could have something done very quickly." https://t.co/cHaFzbcp0z pic.twitter.com/1uF4r2PsVC
“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump said.
President Trump: "The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility... We want safety and we want security for our country. If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly." pic.twitter.com/7kFkd0iW75— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) June 18, 2018
Update 12 p.m. EDT June 18: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said authorities don’t want to separate children from their families but that officials have a duty to prosecute people who illegally cross the border.
“When we ignore our laws at the border we obviously encourage hundreds of thousands of people a year to likewise ignore our laws and illegally enter our country, creating an enormous burden on our law enforcement, our schools, our hospitals and (our) social programs,” Sessions said Monday during the National Sheriffs’ Association Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “We do not want to separate children from their parents. We do not want adults to bring children into this country unlawfully, either, placing those children at risk.” https://t.co/dS9VQjaKLb pic.twitter.com/sxz4RHqiFA— CNN (@CNN) June 18, 2018
He framed the issue as a debate over “whether we want to be a country of laws or whether we want to be a country without borders.”
“President Trump has said this cannot continue,” Sessions said. “We do not want to separate parents from their children. If we build the wall, if we pass legislation to end the lawlessness, we won’t face these terrible choices. We will have a system where those who need to apply for asylum can do so and those who want to come to this country will apply legally.”
Sessions’ arguments echoed those of President Donald Trump, who has blamed Democrats for passing laws that he said led to the separations.
There are no laws mandating the separation of children and parents at the border.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said earlier Monday that officials will not apologize for enforcing immigration laws.
"We have to do our job," she said.
“We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job,” says Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on separating families at the border. “This administration has a simple message: If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you.” https://t.co/NdC1STntVi pic.twitter.com/Be3EMqHlWG— CNN (@CNN) June 18, 2018
Original report: President Donald Trump defended his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on Monday, writing in a series of tweets that children are being used “by the worst criminals on earth” to get into America as critics slammed the policy for separating children from their parents.
“Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” Trump wrote. “Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world. Not going to happen in the U.S.”
Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country. Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world. Not going to happen in the U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
The president pointed to a rise in crime in Germany as an example of the chaos caused by illegal immigration, writing in a tweet that it was a “big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture.”
The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
However, Germany’s internal ministry reported last month that criminal offenses in the country were at their lowest since 1992, according to Reuters.
This spring, the Trump administration ordered prosecutors to charge every person illegally crossing the border. Children traveling with the adults have been separated and placed in detention centers, prompting protests nationwide.
The president has blamed Democrats for not fixing the law that allows for the separations.
“Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration,” the president wrote. “Change the laws!”
Why don’t the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws? Where is the outcry for the killings and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13, coming into our country illegally?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
CHANGE THE LAWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
Despite his claim that Democrats are at fault for the situation, The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration “put the policy in place and could easily end it.”
Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 7:18 AM
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 11:58 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. —
Four children are dead following a hostage situation and a standoff with a suspect accused of shooting an Orlando police officer in the face.
UPDATE 11:41 p.m. EDT: The suspect, Gary Lindsey, is also dead, police and sheriff's office sources told WFTV.
Sources confirming to @WFTV - no survivors in hostage situation - children just 1 6 10 & 11 years old— Martha Sugalski (@MarthaSugalski) June 12, 2018
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday afternoon that police negotiators had been in communication with Lindsey since the standoff at the Westbrook Apartments, which began about midnight.
The children Lindsey was holding hostage ranged in age from 1 to 11. Two of them were Lindsey's children and the others belong to his girlfriend.
Officers were called to the apartment by his girlfriend because of a domestic dispute. Upon arriving, the officers were fired upon, and Office Kevin Valencia was shot.
The police chief said Valencia is expected to survive but he has "very significant injuries."
Court record shows Lindsey has an extensive criminal history.
ORIGINAL STORY: Orlando police say an officer was shot while responding to a domestic violence call and the suspect has taken four children hostage.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said officers responded to the report of a woman who said she was being battered by a man around 11:45 p.m. Sunday at the Westbrook Apartment complex on Eaglesmere Drive, just north of Universal Studios. The suspect opened fire when officers confronted him, Mina said.
The suspect is barricaded in that apartment complex with four children under the age of 12. The youngest hostage is 1 year old, Mina said. SWAT teams and dozens of officers have surrounded the area.
Mina said the officer suffered a serious injury, but has undergone surgery and is expected to survive.
At 11:45 pm, OPD responded to a domestic violence call at the Westbrook Apartments on Eaglesmere Drive. The suspect fired shots, striking one of our officers. pic.twitter.com/W6lryLW7gk— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 11, 2018
Mina did not release the name of the wounded officer, or the name of the suspect who is still barricaded in that apartment complex.
A woman who lives in the apartment building tells Channel 9's Steve Barrett she heard gunfire, then saw an officer who appeared to be injured being rushed away in an SUV.
"We saw the officers dragging another officer - he was lying on the floor, they were trying to keep him awake - they threw him in the car and drove off," said resident Nicole Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said police then went door to door escorting people out of their homes as the standoff began.
We would welcome your prayers for our officer, who sustained a very serious injury, and for his loved ones and his OPD family. pic.twitter.com/Mlv5GW50My— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 11, 2018
Channel 9's Sarahbeth Ackerman reports a heavy police presence at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where the officer was taken.