ORLANDO – The Orlando nightclub shooter’s father attended Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s rally in Kissimmee Monday night.
Cameras captured Seddique Mateen, Omar Mateen’s father, standing in the crowd. He later told a reporter for WPTV, a Palm Beach-based NBC affiliate, that he wanted to attend the rally as a member of the public and a Clinton supporter.
“Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time,” Mateen said.
The Clinton campaign said that the rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public.
“This individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event,” the campaign said.
Mateen’s son was shot and killed by Orlando police officers after a three-hour standoff at the Orlando gay nightclub. The attack left 49 people dead and more than 50 injured.
Mateen said his family has been cooperating with investigators and declined to further comment about the case. Officials have not made any arrests in connection with the attack.
He told the WPTV reporter he wishes his son had “joined the Army and fought ISIS. That would be much better,” he said.
Clinton met with victims’ family and friends during a visit to Orlando in July.
In her speech Monday night, Clinton expressed support for the survivors of the attack and the loved ones of the 49 people who were killed.
“We can’t ever let that kind of hatred and violence break the spirit and break the soul of any place in America,” she said.