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Then, in 2014, the FBI discovered a possible tie between Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who had grown up in nearby Vero Beach, Florida, and then became the first American suicide bomber in Syria, where he fought with the Nusra Front, a Qaida-aligned militant group.
Labeling the attack an act of domestic terrorism, law enforcement officials said Mateen had called 911 once the attacks began and swore allegiance over the phone to the Islamic State. His father, Seddique Mir Mateen, told NBC News that his son had come across two men kissing in Miami recently and was infuriated that his 3-year-old son had seen it, too."They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that.
In front of my son, they are doing that,'" the elder Mateen said.
Mateen's father said the killing had nothing to do with religion, and he apologized for his son.
A year later, he was hired by one of the world's premier private security companies, G4S.
And then, in 2009, he got married and bought a home. His wife, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, divorced him in 2011, after he abused her.
Two years after that, the FBI was called in after reports from Mateen's co-workers that he, the American-born son of Afghan immigrants, had suggested he may have had terrorist ties.
The FBI interviewed him twice, but after surveillance, records checks and witness interviews, agents were unable to verify any terrorist links and closed their investigation.
Orlando gunman Omar Mateen's actions reveal the difficulty in trying to address a new style of terrorism — violence that may have been at least partly inspired by the Islamic State but was not directed by the group's leaders.
WASHINGTON: When a young American man from coastal Florida drove a truck packed with explosives into a hilltop restaurant in Syria in May 2014, FBI agents scoured his online postings and interviewed his contacts in Florida in a scramble to determine who, if anyone, might try to launch a similar attack inside the United States.