As early as third grade, the Florida nightclub shooter talked frequently about sex and violence and before finishing high school was suspended for a total of 48 days...
As early as third grade, the Florida nightclub shooter talked frequently about sex and violence and before finishing high school was suspended for a total of 48 days, including for fighting and hurting classmates, school records showed.
In the years since, other people reported having disturbing run-ins with Omar Mateen, including a bartender who said he stalked her nearly a decade ago and sent so many uncomfortable Facebook messages that she blocked him on the social network.
Mateen, whose attack on the Pulse nightclub left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, enrolled in Florida public schools after his parents moved in 1991 from New York City to Port Saint Lucie, on the Atlantic coast.
Teachers “couldn’t seem to help him,” said Dan Alley, retired dean of Martin County High School. “We tried to counsel him and show him the error of his ways, but it never had the effect that we were hoping for.”
Some of the same behavior followed Mateen into adulthood. His first wife has complained that he beat her, and the security company where he worked once reassigned him after he made inflammatory comments about minorities.
The 29-year-old was killed Sunday in a shootout with police as they moved into the gay club.
At least some of his suspensions were for fighting that involved injuries. Others were for unspecified rule violations, according to the records.
For elementary and early middle school, Mateen attended class in neighboring St. Lucie County, where teachers said he was disruptive and struggled academically.
A third-grade teacher wrote that he was “very active … constantly moving, verbally abusive, rude, aggressive.” The teacher described “much talk about violence & sex,” with Mateen’s “hands all over the place – on other children, in his mouth.”
In seventh grade, school administrators moved Mateen to another class to “avoid conflicts with other students.” That same report said Mateen was doing poorly in several subjects because of “many instances of behavioral problems.”
In a 1999 letter to Mateen’s father, one of his middle school teachers wrote that the boy’s “attitude and inability to show self-control in the classroom create distractions.”
“Unfortunately, Omar has great difficulty focusing on his classwork since he often seeks the attention of his classmates through some sort of noise, disruption or distraction,” the letter said.