Father of Orlando Killer Seated Behind Clinton As She Mentions the Shooting at Florida Rally

By Susan Jones | August 9, 2016 | 10:46am EDT
Seddique Mateen, the father of the Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen, is seated directly behind Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Fla. on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Mateen is wearing a red baseball cap in this screen grab.

(CNSNews.com) - As they were covering Hillary Clinton's campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida on Monday, a crew from Florida television station WPTV noticed the father of the Orlando nightclub shooter sitting in the audience, directly behind Hillary Clinton.

Seddique Mateen, seen here wearing a red baseball cap, raised his cell phone camera as Clinton praised those who "rushed in to the Pulse nightclub massacre to save lives."

"And I just have to tell you how grateful I am for the leadership and the people of Orlando and Central Florida for your love and compassion," Clinton said. "And I know how many people, family members, loved ones and friends are still grieving, and I  want them to know that we will be with you -- we will be with you as you rebuild your lives, as you rebuild hope for the futurre because we can't ever let that kind of hatred and violence break the spirit, break the soul of anyplace in America," Clinton said.

Kissimmee is just south of Orlando.

Later, WPTV  (a West Palm Beach station) caught up with Mateen, asking him what he was doing there.

Mateen said he's been cooperating with the FBI investigation. He said Hillary Clinton would be "good for (the) United States," and he said he attended the rally because, as a member of the Democrat Party, he received an invitation to do so.

It's not clear how he ended up right behind Clinton, where he was in the camera's direct line of sight.

Mateen came to the United States from Afghanistan, but his son Omar was born in New York.

Early in the morning on June 12, Omar shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others inside the gay nightclub after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

But Seddique insisted his son was not a radical Islamist. “I think he just wanted to boast of himself,” Mateen told the Washington Post at the time.

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