The ex-wife of the 29-year-old man suspected of killing 50 people in a Orlando nightclub early on Sunday said he was violent and mentally unstable and beat her repeatedly while they were married.
The woman said she met Omar Mateen online about eight years ago and decided to move to Florida and marry him, Independent reported.
At first, the marriage was normal, she said, but then he became abusive.
“He was not a stable person,” said the ex-wife, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared for her safety in the wake of the mass shooting.
“He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry was not finished or something like that.”
While the FBI has not identified Mateen publicly, US law enforcement officials said his identification was found on the body of the suspected killer who was armed with a handgun and an assault rifle.
Mateen’s ex-wife said his family was from Afghanistan, but her ex-husband was born in New York. His family later moved to Florida.
She said she was having a difficult time when she first met him and decided to move to Florida to be with him. The two married in March 2009 and moved into a two-bedroom condominium in Fort Pierce, Florida that Mateen’s family owned.
“He seemed like a normal human being,” she said, adding that he was not very religious and worked out at the gym often.
She said in the few months they were married he gave no signs of having fallen under the sway of radical Islam.
She said he owned a small-caliber handgun and worked as a guard at a nearby facility for juvenile delinquents.
“He was a very private person,” she said.
Gunman Omar Mateen was armed with an AR-15-type assault rifle, which has become the signature weapon of mass killers in the US.
Known as “America’s gun,” it is owned by around 3.7 million American households, making it the country’s most popular rifle, reported the Telegraph (UK) online.
The military-grade weapon was used by Adam Lanza in December 2012 to shoot dead 26 people at Sandy Hook in Newtown, while the San Bernardino terrorists used AR-15s when they killed 14 people in December 2015.
It was also used to kill nine people at Umpqua Community College in October 2015.
And in July 2012 James Eagan Holmes used an AR-15-type assault rifle to kill 12 people in Aurora, wounding a further seventy.
The sale of semiautomatic weapons is hugely controversial in America as the rapid fire mode would allow a rogue gunmen to kill dozens of people in a matter of seconds.
It was speculated on Sunday that Mateen, 29, would only have needed to reload once during his killing spree due to the weapon’s large clip size.
In the state of Florida, anyone over the age of 18 can buy an AR-15 as no state permit is required. The same goes for pistols and shotguns.
US Presidential candidates took to twitter to express their grief and support to the victims’ families of the Orlando shooting that left 50 people dead and 53 injured on Sunday morning.
“Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?” wrote Republican presumptive nominee Donald J. Trump.
Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton signed her tweet with “-H” as an indication she wrote the tweet herself, instead of her campaign’s social media staff.
“Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. -H.”
Democratic Bernie Sanders has not posted on Twitter about the attack, but addressed it on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“It’s horrific, it’s unthinkable,” he said. “And just hopes go out to all those who were shot that they can recover.”