Winstanley was not in the same room as Mateen that day. If he was caught celebrating something like that, he would have gotten beaten up.’’ Winstanley said he never saw signs of radicalization in Mateen in high school, adding, “I know Omar liked America.’’ He said the two once had a conversation about Mateen’s Muslim faith.“I never heard about him doing anything like that,’’ said Winstanley, who attended school with Mateen from grades six through 10. “Omar explained the Muslim religion to me,’’ Winstanley said. It was just some of the things his culture does, the food they eat.

“I never forget a face.” Later that night, Mateen would kill 49 people inside the gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst mass shooting in U. The gunman who killed at least 49 people in a shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen. (Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post) Cord Cedeno said he had also seen Mateen inside Pulse before, standing at the bar with a drink.

“He was open with his picture on the sites; he was easy to recognize,” said Cedeno, 23, of Orlando, who said he was also contacted by Mateen at least a year ago on a dating app.

He was probably one of the only kids of [Afghan] descent.

That made him stand out a bit as well.” On some mornings, kids wouldn’t let Mateen sit beside them.

His unusual behavior that day was also corroborated by other classmates in public posts on Facebook. He said he shot them and his uncle taught him how to shoot them.” The ex-classmate spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear that business clients would find out that he attended a school for poorly behaving students. In a Facebook post, another student similarly described Mateen’s standing up and cheering on 9/11.

The Martin County School District referred all questions about Mateen’s time as a student to the FBI. A third classmate said he distinctly remembers Mateen’s actions that day because both of them were sent to the dean’s office at the same time for acting out when the towers were hit.

On others, he’d get slapped on the back of his head, Delancy said.

“He’d try to joke and laugh and make fun of himself to get the attention off of himself.

Nothing radical Islam at all.’’ Sarah Zaidi, who was best friends with one of Mateen’s three sisters, described the Mateens as “an all-American family.” “His mom worked for a while at a day-care center.

His dad did stuff with stocks and investment,” Zaidi said. None of the sisters or mom even wore a headscarf like some Muslims do.” Two of Mateen’s sisters are now married and have kids in the same area, Zaidi said. But as the only son, Mateen seemed to have fewer friends than his sisters.

West had also seen Mateen at Pulse multiple times before.