11, 2001, when they were watching the attack on the World Trade Center unfold on live TV.
“I never heard about him doing anything like that,’’ said Winstanley, who attended school with Mateen from grades six through 10. “Omar explained the Muslim religion to me,’’ Winstanley said. It was just some of the things his culture does, the food they eat.“I don’t really know if he was doing it because he was being taught some stuff at home or just doing it for attention because he didn’t have a lot of friends. We weren’t really close friends, but friends at least a little,” he said. When he arrived at the dean’s office, Mateen was also there, apparently for saying rude things about Americans deserving to be attacked, said this student, who was not in the classroom to witness the comments.“After 9/11 happened, he started changing and acting different.” At the time, Mateen was attending the Spectrum alternative school, a campus in Stuart, Fla., for students with behavioral issues. The first former classmate — who was in the classroom — vividly recalled Mateen’s father picking him up after he got in trouble. “And in the courtyard in front of everyone, the dad slapped him right across the face.” After that day, Zirkle said, “he kept doing it and saying crazy things. He was totally cool before 9/11, and then something changed.” Zirkle and others think Mateen was suspended or expelled from the school shortly afterward.“I never forget a face.” Later that night, Mateen would kill 49 people inside the gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst mass shooting in U. The gunman who killed at least 49 people in a shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen. (Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post) Cord Cedeno said he had also seen Mateen inside Pulse before, standing at the bar with a drink.“He was open with his picture on the sites; he was easy to recognize,” said Cedeno, 23, of Orlando, who said he was also contacted by Mateen at least a year ago on a dating app.Former classmate Samuel King and his friends also hung out with Mateen at the mall, where Mateen worked at the GNC store after high school and King at Ruby Tuesday.