On the morning before the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, shooter Omar Mateen drastically altered his appearance, shaving his head and face, and seemed agitated and surly, said an acquaintance who saw him that day.
Mateen also talked about staying up all night to do online research into anti-psychosis medication, the acquaintance said in a interview. The acquaintance requested anonymity, saying authorities had asked him to keep quiet.
The 29-year-old gunman, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, called himself an “Islamic soldier” and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group before being fatally shot by police after a three-hour siege.
The FBI would not comment on the acquaintance’s remarks, but several senior U.S. sources told Reuters the investigation was moving more toward the belief that Mateen’s motives were personal rather than political.
“It looks increasingly like this may have been the act of a seriously troubled individual whose personal problems dwarfed any last-minute inspiration from radical groups,” said a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Authorities believe Mateen, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent, was self-radicalized and acted alone in the rampage. He seems to have been a troubled youth, disciplined dozens of times in school and had his aspirations to become a policeman dashed when he was expelled from the academy.
The acquaintance, a resident at the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where Mateen worked as a gate security guard, said he noticed signs of deteriorating behavior a few weeks before the massacre.
He had passed the gate for three years, meeting Mateen several times a week and exchanging friendly small talk. About three weeks before the attack, he noticed Mateen seemed agitated and asked him if he was all right.
Mateen said he was worn out from staying up all night to research psychiatric medication, although he did not say he was taking specific drugs.
“He’d been real worried about whether or not he’d slipped into psychosis,” the acquaintance said. “He wasn’t as friendly. He was obsessed with researching medication online.”
The acquaintance said he thought it was strange that Mateen would confide to him his concerns about his mental health, because they were not very close and he did not know anything about Mateen’s personal life, including whether he was married or had children.
“The last month, he looked worried, he looked upset, he looked confused,” the acquaintance said. “He didn’t seem himself.”
In the early morning, about 18 hours before the June 12 attack, the acquaintance said he drove up to the gate but Mateen was not there to open it as usual.
In a couple of minutes, he appeared, silent and with a completely transformed look – a shaved head and face, without his usual short whiskers and glasses.
When asked if he was OK, the usually polite Mateen responded: “What’s it to you, anyway?”
(Additional reporting by Jon Walcott and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Coal knew: Explosive report shows industry was aware of climate crisis as far back as 1966
"It wasn't just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago."
A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.
The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday.
Devin Nunes’ hometown paper flooded with letters from disgusted out-of-towners
The Frenso Bee, which hails from the San Joaquin Valley where California GOP Congressman Devin Nunes is from, published a series of letters from people around the country who watched his performance in this week's impeachment hearings. The letters all had one thing in common: a notable "absence of pro-Nunes sentiment," which the Fresno Bee's Marek Warszawski said was not intentional on his part.
"Angry people tend to send letters, not those who are pleased," he writes.
WATCH: Lindsey Graham flees Iraq War vet who politely asks to talk about Trump’s conduct
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday was filmed running away from a war veteran who tried to talk with him about President Donald Trump's impeachable conduct.
In a video posted by progressive veterans organization Common Defense, a man who identifies himself as an Iraq War veteran from Louisiana calmly walks up to Graham and tells the senator that he believes that he's being treated unfairly by the media.
"I believe that you honestly believe in our democracy as I do," the man tells him.
"I do," Graham replies.
"I came here to D.C. because I'm a Marine, I went to Iraq, and I believe, as I believe that you do, that President Trump is not acting in accordance to his oath," the veteran continued. "The oath that you took and I did to defend the Constitution."