Orlando shooter was 'a sick person' -- ex-wife

  • 13/06/2016
Orlando shooter was 'a sick person' -- ex-wife

The ex-wife of the man who shot and killed 50 people in Orlando, Florida said she is shocked by the attack, but saw there was something very wrong with him years ago.

Sitora Yusufiy, 27, told ABC News her former husband Omar Mateen had a personality that could change in a minute and when he was angry he would often go off on tangents, speaking about the immorality of homosexuality.

"He would be perfectly normal and happy, joking, laughing one minute -- the next minute his temper...his body would just [go] totally the opposite," Ms Yusufiy said.

The two met on social network site Myspace in 2008 and dated for a short time before getting married. But Ms Yusufiy said only weeks into the marriage Mateen started to show a darker side.

She said he made her get a job and then took the money she made.

"It was just his personal form of control. He wanted to control me and do whatever he [could] to keep me hostage."

Emotional control progressed to abuse.

Orlando shooter was 'a sick person' -- ex-wife

Sitora Yusufiy (Facebook)

 "After being abused and after trying to do that and see the good in him, I can honestly say this is a sick person. This was a sick person that was really confused and went crazy," she said.

"In those moments of emotional instability, he would express his anger towards [a] certain culture, homosexuality, because in Islamic culture, it is not really tolerated, homosexuality. And I know at the time he was trying to get his life straight and follow his faith," she said.

Mateen came from an Afghani family and was born in New York. He was "Americanised" and religious but not radical, according to Ms Yusufiy.

She said Mateen desperately wanted to be a policeman. He had a lot of friends who were and he often went to the shooting range with them.

Ms Yusufiy was saved from the abusive marriage in 2009 -- only a year after she met Mateen-- when her family and Mateen had a falling out. They were officially divorced in 2011.

They had no contact, virtual or otherwise, after the split.  Ms Yusufiy said Mateen had tried to contact her on Facebook around a year ago, but she blocked him.

"I thought I had closed the chapter on this horrible mistake that I had gotten myself into and forgot all about it... But this is the most shocking, heart-breaking experience," she said of the shooting.

Ms Yusufiy said she wished to extend her sympathies to the families of the victims of the shooting.

Mateen made a 911 call shortly before the shooting pleading allegiance to IS, according to a US official. And following the attack the media arm of IS, Amaq, published a statement claiming responsibility.

"The armed attack that targeted a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter," said the statement.

Marteen was shot and killed by Orlando police.