Orlando Terrorist Said America Deserved 9/11, Former Classmates Say
Former high school classmates of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen are speaking out, saying the nation’s deadliest mass shooter, was gleeful upon seeing video of the airliners crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11.
The Washington Post reports Mateen was a high school sophomore on September 11, 2001, attending the Spectrum Alternative School near Stuart, FL. One former classmate told the Post his recollection of that September morning:
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.
The Post reporters say they spoke separately with another former classmate who also remembered Mateen’s inappropriate behavior on 9/11. According to the former student, they were both sent to the dean’s office that morning for misbehaving in the class. The former student told the newspaper he had just woken up (after sleeping in class) and was sent to the main office after he became upset at what he saw on TV. As for his memories of Mateen, he told The Post the following:
“But Omar was saying some really rude stuff. Stuff like, ‘That’s what America deserves.’ That kind of thing. It wasn’t right.”
The Post also spoke with Robert Zinkle, who rode on the same school bus as Mateen. Zinkle recalled Mateen’s strange behavior after 9/11, including one day when Mateen was “making plane noises on the bus, acting like he was running into a building.” Zinkle told the newspaper that the behavior almost caused a fight with other kids on the bus.
“Before 9/11 happened, we were pretty straight. We all rode the same bus. We weren’t really close friends, but friends at least a little,” Zinkle told The Post. “After 9/11 happened, he started changing and acting different.”