Father of Orlando shooter attends Clinton rally

Shooter Omar Mateen's father carried a banner in Hillary Clinton's rally that said she would be good for 'national security' and 'gun control laws'. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Kissimmee, Florida Aug 10, 2016, 02.03 AM (IST)
The father of the man responsible for the worst mass shooting in US history attended a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Kissimmee, Florida, on Monday, carrying a sign touting her position on gun control, and saying she would be "good for national security".

Seddique Mateen sat just steps from the podium where Clinton was speaking, sometimes wearing a red baseball cap and waving an American flag. When asked if Clinton's staffers knew whether he was there, he replied, "It's a Democratic party. Everyone can join."

Mateen's son, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, stormed a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, and fatally shot 49 people. Fifty-three others were wounded, many critically.

On social media, Omar Mateen 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.

"I wish that my son joined the army and fought ISIS, and destroyed ISIS," he told a reporter on Monday night.

Seddique Mateen was born in Afghanistan. He had an occasional television show on a US-based Afghan satellite channel for about three years and posted political commentaries on his Facebook page, railing against Pakistan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.