Both the Muslim terrorist who massacred 49 people in an Orlando night club on Saturday night and the massively-armed man who was arrested in Santa Monica, California while on his way to the L.A. Pride festival are — or were — reportedly gay.
The Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, was a regular at Pulse nightclub who also used the gay dating app Jack’d, according to reports.
Kevin West, himself a regular at Pulse, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen frequently messaged him on Jack’d for about a year leading up to this weekend’s attack. West says he saw Mateen the night of the shooting, and was able to identify the shooter as soon as police released photos of him. (RELATED: Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen Was A Pulse Regular Who Used Gay Dating App)
A man who attended a police academy class with Mateen told the Palm Beach Post that Mateen had once hit on him at a gay nightclub.
“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” said the anonymous former classmate told the Florida newspaper.
“He said, ‘Well if you were gay, you would be my type,'” the unidentified police academy student added. “It was not anything too crazy, but I take that as a pick-up line.”
The student described Mateen, who was slain by police officers, as a socially inept loner.
Meanwhile, out in California, the man arrested on Sunday because, police said, he was on his way to the L.A. Pride festival with a crazy stockpile of weapons is also reportedly gay.
Santa Monica police arrested the man, James Wesley Howell, with three high-powered rifles and several accompanying magazines as well as several pounds of an explosive chemical called Shoc-Shot. Howell also had a Taser and a Buck knife — and a black hood, handcuffs and a security badge.
Howell, who hails from a ritzy Indiana suburb of Louisville, kept his sexuality a secret, a lover said.
“He didn’t like anybody to know about it,” ex-boyfriend Zach Hambrick told The Indianapolis Star.
Hambrick, 17, explained that he and Howell, 20, met through a dating app. Their relationship was great at first, but soon deteriorated.
“After things went bad, that’s when he started getting violent with me,” Hambrick told the Star.
Hambrick added that Howell’s arrest came as no shock to him.
“It didn’t surprise me,” he told the newspaper. “It didn’t surprise me at all.”
Howell arrived in Southern California very recently — possibly to avoid legal troubles at home. He had previously been arrested for pointing a gun at a neighbor. The gun was loaded. He was also arrested for driving 103 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone and then attempting to flee.
“He was an only child and just kind of lonerish,” friend Joseph Greeson told the Star. “I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”
Howell faces a litany of charges and several years in prison for the Sunday incident in Santa Monica.
He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Tuesday. A judge set Howell’s bail at $2 million.