“Did you know that the Orlando shooter lives right over here?”
Ah, from the mouths of babes. That was an exchange I had with a worker at Golden Corral in Port St. Lucie, Florida yesterday (Thursday). She told me she was 16, she was cute as a button, and she summoned up the most important piece of information in the context of that conversation. Her name was Mary, and she was a blonde who said Port St. Lucie is “boring,” and that she’d rather be in a place where she could go “mudding and fishing.” If only Mr. Mateen had the same aspirations.
Thursday I went to the home of Omar Mateen. I don’t know why I thought it would be some lousy apartment. I was surprised.
In the driveway was parked a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz, and a Honda SUV.
A sign posted on the door read:
“The families have been answering every question and been very cooperative throughout this time. Sending our respects to all during this difficult time for everyone. We do not have any comments right now. Thank You with Deepest Regards.”
I was parked nearby and noticed two men come out of the house and leave in the Honda SUV, and I would have followed them (at a safe distance), but I ran over what looked like the remnants of a young alligator on the freeway on my ride down, and by the time I got to Mateen’s house, I had a flat tire.
Mary said that the street in front of Mateen’s house had been blocked off for law enforcement investigators. She said she saw them taking “boxes and boxes” of items from the home, and complained that she couldn’t reach the car wash because of the road block. Maybe she’d recently been mudding.
The clerks at a nearby Walgreens said Mateen had frequented the liquor store next door, so I guess he wasn’t going to Orlando to break the no-alcohol rule Muslims typically adhere to. What would ISIS think?!
Port St. Lucie is suburban and cute, with little fancy signs designating the different neighborhoods, smooth roads, modern streetlights. Population about 172,000. Vanilla Ice had a home here in 2004, where he kept a pet goat and a pet wallaroo (a wallaby kangaroo), both which famously escaped. On the main drag, a Lowe’s is right across the street from a Home Depot, like a jousting match for your DIY home-improvement business. The people I talked to were polite and good-natured. Not at all like Mystic, Connecticut. (I will never forget how lousy that trip was, Mystic. Never.)
It rains every day here, but Port St. Lucie had the first rainbow I’ve seen this week.