Orlando mass-murderer Omar Mateen celebrated the horrific acts of terrorism committed against America on September 11, 2001, as a high school sophomore, say former classmates. Mateen allegedly cheered on the terrorists as he and his classmates watched the second plane slam into one of the Twin Towers; he also made “plane noises” and acted as though he was “running into a building” on the bus ride home.
Early Sunday morning, Mateen, 29, viciously murdered at least 49 people and injured 53 others at popular gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. The terrorist called 911 and pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State during the brutal massacre. ISIS later took credit for the attack via a news origination affiliated with the Islamic terror group.
During an interview on Fox News with Judge Jeanine Pirro, Robert Zirkle, a former classmate of Mateen's, explained Mateen's disturbing behavior post-9/11, claiming that he was eventually expelled from Martin County High School in Florida because of it.
Zirkle claims that before 9/11, he and Mateen were somewhat-friendly: "We all rode the same bus. We weren’t really close friends, but friends at least a little," he said, but after 9/11, "he started changing and acting different."
Mateen “was making plane noises on the bus" and acting "like he would hit a building" on 9/11 and the days following the attack, said Zirkle, who was a freshman at the time.
"It wasn't even just on the bus, he had comments in classes," added the former classmate. Zirkle claims that this behavior led to Mateen being expelled from Martin County High School and placed into a "secondary school."
Another former classmate allegedly told Zirkle that Mateen “stood up in class during the 9/11 attack and after the second plane hit the building he started jumping up-and-down cheering on the terrorist.”
Moreover, another "former student who was sitting in the same class as Mateen remembers the morning of 9/11 clearly: 'Teachers said turn on the TV. We see the one plane hit. And then see second plane hit … [Mateen] was smiling. It was almost like surreal how happy he was about what happened to us,'" reports The Washington Post.
The former student said Mateen went on to claim that Osama bin Laden was his uncle. The ex-classmate spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of business clients finding out he attended an alternative school. Mateen’s claim of family links to bin Laden was also mentioned by Zirkle.
“I was sleeping in class and woke up to see people jumping off buildings, so I started swearing and they sent me up,” said the former classmate. “But Omar was saying some really rude stuff. Stuff like, ‘That’s what America deserves.’ That kind of thing. It wasn’t right.”
As The Daily Beast reports, Mateen was briefly under FBI investigation for his ties to radical Islam before he massacred dozens in Orlando. A "senior law-enforcement source reports Mateen became a person of interest in 2013 and again in 2014. The Federal Bureau of Investigation at one point opened an investigation into Mateen, but subsequently closed the case when it produced nothing that appeared to warrant further investigation."