Orlando gunman Omar Mateen’s father attends Hillary Clinton rally to widespread confusion

Seddique Mateen told local media he believed Ms Clinton - and not Donald Trump - had solutions for America's problems

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 09 August 2016 15:53
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Mr Mateen attended the rally near Orlando
Mr Mateen attended the rally near Orlando

As Hillary Clinton addressed voters in Florida and spoke of the Orlando shooting, among those listening intently was the father of the man who killed 49 people.

A local television channel captured footage of Ms Clinton this week speaking in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando. She began her speech by paying tribute to those countless number of people affected by June’s attack on the Pulse nightclub that left so many dead and injured.

“I know how many people, families, loved ones, and friends are still grieving, and we will be with you as you rebuild your lives,” she said.

Among those paying attention to the address was the father of the killer, Omar Mateen, who was shot and killed by police officers who stormed the club, which was popular with the LGBTQ community.

Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, who had made a Clinton sign to carry at the event, told the WPTV channel that he and his family members had been cooperating with federal investigators probing the attack on the club.

“Hillary Clinton is good for United States versus Donald Trump, who has no solutions,” he said, of his decision to listen to the Democratic candidate.

Asked about his decision to attend the event, he added: “I spoke a lot about that and wish that my son joined the Army and fought Isis. That would be much better.”

When questioned whether Ms Clinton’s campaign knew he was going to the event and sitting directly behind the presidential candidate, Mr Mateen said: “It's a Democratic party, so everyone can join.”

He added: “Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I've been living here a long time.”

Federal investigators probing the June attack believe Mateen became radicalised before storming the club in the centre of Orlando. Some reports suggested he had visited Pulse, and other gay clubs, on several occasions though police said they could determine whether the shooter was himself gay.

Ms Clinton's campaign issued a statement saying it did not know Mr Mateen was in the audience, one of 3,000 people who were present, until after the rally concluded.

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