The Washington Post spoke to the ex-wife of Omar Mateen, the man suspected of killing approximately 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning. On the condition of her anonymity, the woman shared stories about her life with Mateen, describing him as violent and unstable.
The woman said she met Mateen online about eight years ago and moved to Florida to marry him in March 2009. They shared a two-bedroom condo in Fort Pierce, Florida, that his family owned. At first, everything was fine.
"He seemed like a normal human being," she said. She included that he wasn't very religious and that he liked to work out at the gym often. She also shared that he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a juvenile delinquent facility near their home.
A time into their marriage, Mateen became abusive.
"He was not a stable person," she told the Washington Post. "He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn't finished or something like that."
The woman said her parents flew down to Florida when they learned Mateen had assaulted her and pulled her out of the house, leaving her belongings behind.
"They literally saved my life," she said of her parents.
The New York Post talked to the ex-wife's father, who said, "They were only together three or four months." According to Florida court records, the two formally divorced in 2011.
Mateen's ex-wife told the paper that his family was from Afghanistan, but he was born in New York and later his family moved to Florida. She also stated that in the few months they were married, he gave no signs of "having fallen under the sway of radical Islam."
After learning of the massacre in Orlando, she said, "I am still processing. I am definitely lucky."
At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, FBI agents said, "the individual believed to be responsible for the shooting has been identified as Omar Amir Siddiq Mateen, aged 29, an American citizen born in New York."
The Guardian reports that the FBI first became aware of Mateen in 2013 when he made "inflammatory comments to coworkers, alleging possible terrorist ties." They say they investigated the matter, including interviewing Mateen twice, but were unable to "verify the substance of his comments, and the investigation was closed."
Then, in 2014, Mateen was investigated again when it was suggested he had a relationship with an American suicide bomber, Omar Abu Salah. "We determined that contact was minimal and didn't to constitute a substantive relationship or threat at that that time."
Mateen also made 911 calls in which he pledged allegiance to the leader of the terror group Islamic State.
"There were 911 calls in which there was conversation between the subject and 911 operators," FBI Special Agent Ron Hopper said. "It was general to the Islamic State."
From The Guardian:
He says the FBI is looking at any terror ties, domestic or international. He won't comment on interviews with Mateen's family, saying "multiple interviews are being conducted as we speak." Finally, a representative of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says that Mateen legally purchased two weapons in the last week."He is not a prohibitive person so he can legally walk into a gun dealership," he says. "He did so within the last week or so."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.