Omar Mateen's murderous rampage in a gay nightclub in Florida last week was an act of revenge against an HIV-positive partner, according to a man who claimed to be Mateen's lover.
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The man, who would only identify himself as Miguel, made his claim in an interview with the United States-based Spanish-language television network Univision, The Telegraph website reported.
Mateen, 29, killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 in America's worst mass shooting. He was killed in the police raid that ended the massacre
Miguel said he met Mateen on a gay dating website and the two had a relationship for two months until last December. Mateen's pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State was not the true motivation behind the massacre, Miguel said.
"I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism," Miguel said in the interview. "In my opinion he did it for revenge."
He claimed Mateen had become "terrified" after discovering that a Puerto Rican man he had sex with was HIV positive. "I’m going to make them pay for what they did to me," he quoted Mateen as saying.
The man's claims have not been independently verified, though Univision said it had confirmed the man's identity with the FBI.
Mateen "adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin, but he felt rejected. He felt used by them," Miguel said. "There were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him.”
Mateen, whom he described as "sweet and affectionate" had told him he was forced into an arranged marriage, the man said. "He was looking for love. He was looking to be embraced."
Several witnesses claim to have seen Mateen in the Pulse nightclub on previous occasions before the shooting.