Orlando club shooter's father: I don't believe my son was gay

Story highlights

  • Orlando gunman's father says he thinks reports that suggest his son might have been gay are "wrong"
  • Seddique Mateen tells CNN earlier that he saw no signs of mental health issues or radicalism

(CNN)The father of the Orlando nightclub gunman said Tuesday he doesn't believe his son was gay.

After reports emerged that his son went several times to the popular gay nightclub where 49 people were gunned down early Sunday, Seddique Mateen said he saw nothing that made him think Omar Mir Seddique Mateen was gay.
    "I don't know if he was, if that was his way of his life, but I don't believe so," Seddique Mateen told reporters at his home in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
    Pressed about witnesses saying his son went to Pulse in the months before Sunday's massacre, Seddique Mateen repeated his belief that his son, who was married with a child, was straight. There also was a report that his son had used a gay dating app.
    "I heard the news that you heard," the father said. "To me (that he might be gay) that is wrong, I didn't see it."
    Mateen said he saw his son on Saturday afternoon, about 11 hour before the shootings. His son just popped in to say hello and didn't stay long. Omar Mateen acted normally, the father said.
    The son never gave any indication he wanted to kill anyone, Seddique Mateen said, adding that he would have turned in his son to authorities if he knew what was going to happen.

    Terror in a crowded club

    Omar Mateen committed "an act of terror" by carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, his father told CNN on Monday night.
    "His act was a terror act, but as far him being a terrorist. I'm not aware of," Mateen said in an interview with Don Lemon. "This is the worst thing that can happen for a father to see a son act like this."
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    The elder Mateen told CNN that his son had been attentive to his work, his family and made regular visits to his parents. He said his son did not have mental health issues and hadn't shown signs of being radicalized.
    "I'm really speechless what he did. I don't forgive him as a father," Mateen said. "I wish I had an opportunity to talk to him about why he did what he did."
    The gunman, a 29-year-old former security guard, was born in New York. His parents came from Afghanistan, according to a U.S. official.
    The father had an occasional television show on an Afghan satellite channel in which he regularly criticized Afghanistan's government and Pakistan.

    Views on gay relationships

    Mateen said that previously, his son had seen two men kissing in public, near women and children. His son "had a reaction" and the whole sighting "was surprising to him."
    He didn't clarify further what kind of reaction that his son had.
    Mateen told CNN he wanted to know from his son: "Why did you go to that club?"
    The father said he personally believed through his religious teachings that people are meant to be in heterosexual relationships, but that he did not judge the way of life for other people. He said only God was to judge, and that it was not for him to critique people's lifestyle.
    Mateen said that he disagreed with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who renewed his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
    He said an entire religious group should not be held responsible for the actions of one person.
    "My son is responsible for his behavior," he said.
    But he avoided Lemon's question on whether he felt responsible for what happened.
    On Tuesday, he told CNN and other news crews at his home that "as a father you can only do so much."
    He said he provided for his son and helped send him to college.
    "In this country, after age 18, the kids are on their own. You do what you can do," he said.

    Father chimes in on purported ISIS allegiance

    Although the shooter made calls to 911, pledging allegiance to ISIS, his father said he had never seen signs of his son becoming radicalized.
    The elder Mateen condemned the terror group, calling it "the enemy of humanity."
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    "The way they conduct themselves, they're harming everybody. They're not a religious group. I don't know what they are," he said. "They're a killer group."
    The gunman had been questioned by the FBI in two terror-related cases, but both matters had been closed.
    According to one official, analysis of Mateen's electronic devices showed searches for jihadist propaganda, including ISIS beheading videos.
    "He consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda" online, the source said.
    Mateen expressed sadness for the victims.
    "That 50 people (those who were killed) are my family. The people who got injured, they are my family. I care for them. I'm very sad for them. They love their loved ones."