(CNN) — The father of the Orlando nightclub gunman, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, said his son did not have mental health issues and that he was not aware of “him being a terrorist.”
“His act was a terror act, but as far as him being a terrorist. I’m not aware of,” Seddique Mateen said in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. “This is the worst thing that can happen for a father to see a son act like this.”
“I wish I had an opportunity to talk to him about why he did what he did,” he added.
The 29-year-old gunman attacked early Sunday morning at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub, killing 49 people, authorities say.
Mateen said that previously, his son had seen two men kissing in public, near women and children. His son “had a reaction” and the whole sighting “was surprising to him.”
He didn’t clarify what kind of reaction his son had.
Mateen also wanted to know from his son: “Why did you go to that club?”
The father said he personally believed through his religious teachings that people are meant to be in heterosexual relationships, but that he did not judge the way of life for other people. He said only God was to judge, and that it was not for him to critique people’s lifestyle.
Although the shooter made calls to 911, pledging allegiance to ISIS, his father said he had never seen signs of his son being radicalized. The elder Mateen condemned the terror group, calling it “the enemy of humanity.”
“The way tey conduct themselves, they’re harming everybody. They’re not a religious group. I don’t know what they are,” he said. “They’re a killer group.”
Mateen said he couldn’t forgive his son and expressed sadness for the victims.
“That 50 people [those who were killed] are my family. The people who got injured, they are my family. I care for them. I’m very sad for them. They love their loved ones.”