FBI Has No Proof Orlando Gunman Was Gay: Officials
But nothing has been ruled out yet, per AG Lynch
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2016 12:55 PM CDT
In this June 12, 2016, file photo, law enforcement officials work at the Pulse nightclub following the fatal shooting in Orlando, Fla.   (Chris O'Meara)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – FBI investigators so far have not turned up persuasive evidence that Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was gay or pursuing gay relationships, according to two government officials familiar with the investigation who spoke anonymously to the AP. The FBI began looking into that possibility after media reports last week quoted men as saying that Mateen had reached out to them on gay dating apps and had frequented the gay nightclub where the June 12 massacre took place. One man claimed to be Mateen's gay lover in an interview with Univision, while another recalled Mateen as a regular at the Pulse club who tried to pick up men. But the officials say the FBI—which has conducted 500 interviews, has recovered Mateen's phone, and is reviewing evidence from it—has not found concrete evidence to corroborate such accounts.

They also cautioned that the investigation is ongoing and that nothing has formally been ruled out. Law enforcement officials have said there's no doubt that Mateen was radicalized at some point before the attack, though there's no evidence that he was directed by any foreign terror groups. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch has taken pains not to describe radical extremism as his sole motivation and declined in an interview with the AP on Tuesday to rule out any other possibility, including that he was secretly gay. "It's entirely possible that he had a singular motive," she said. "It's entirely possible that he had a dual motive."