ORLANDO, Fla. – The gunman who opened fire at a gay Florida nightclub last month in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history had complained he was repeatedly taunted for being Muslim in his job as a security guard at a Florida courthouse, according to records released Monday.
When Omar Mateen first started working at the St. Lucie Courthouse, one guard told deputies that “I’m a Muslim extremist and potential terrorist,” Mateen wrote in a statement to his bosses at the security firm he worked for, G4S Secure Solutions.
When boxes were delivered to the courthouse, another guard often said, “We have to be careful Omar may send us a bomb and he will get his 72 virgins,” Mateen wrote, according to the records released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.
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Another time, a deputy teased Mateen that his fingers had pork oil on them and he was going to rub them on Mateen’s shirt, according to Mateen. Observant Muslims don’t eat pork because it is considered unclean.
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According to the records, Mateen told his bosses that in response to the taunting, he told co-workers he had ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and Nidal Hasan, a former U.S. Army major who was convicted and sentenced to death in a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas that left 13 people dead and 31 wounded.
That prompted an FBI investigation in 2013. But the documents show the FBI didn’t believe he was a terrorist, and an agent told a sheriff’s office major that he didn’t think Mateen “would go postal or anything like that.”
The FBI investigated Mateen again in 2014 because of his ties to a Syrian suicide bomber who went to the same mosque, but that case also was closed without the agency taking action.
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Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando during “Latin Night” on June 12 in a rampage that left 49 dead and 53 wounded. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during a call with police dispatchers amid a three-hour standoff, died in a hail of gunfire after police stormed the venue.
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FBI spokeswoman Amy Pittman on Monday referred questions to the FBI’s Miami office, which did not respond to an email.
Mateen’s comments to co-workers about having terrorist ties in 2013 caused enough concern with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office that they asked G4S Secure Solutions to have him reassigned, away from the courthouse.
Mateen was born in New York and his family came from Afghanistan. In the letter to his employer, he expressed his patriotism to the United States and said he loved his job.
“I love the United States. The boasting I did it just to satisfy the gang of co-workers who ganged up against me,” Matten wrote. “I’m 1,000% pure American. … I’m against these terrorists anyone of them.”