The former wife of suspected Orlando mass killer Omar Mateen spoke with Colorado media outside her Boulder County home Sunday, saying she was shaken “to be in some way affiliated at one point in my life to someone who caused such a tragedy.
“More than anything, I was so, so deeply hurt and heartbroken for the families that lost their loved ones,” said Sitora Yusufiy, according to a report by Alex Burness of The Daily Camera in Boulder.
Yusufiy, a marketing and art director for Rainforest Awareness Worldwide in Boulder, spoke with her fiancée, Marcio Dias, by her side.
The Washington Post reported she met Mateen through an online dating service and agreed to move to Florida to be with him. They were married in March 2009, and although she said it only lasted a few months, their divorce was not finalized until 2011. She described a situation in which her family showed up and physically rescued her from a marriage that had turned abusive, wrestling her from Mateen’s grasp.
“He beat me,” Yusufiy told the Washington Post. “He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”
When asked if she could understand why Mateen would have opened fire in the night club massacre, killing 49 people and wounding dozens of others, Yusufiy responded, “Emotional instability. Sickness. He was mentally unstable and mentally ill. That’s the only explanation I could give,” Burness reported.
Yusufiy said she she’d already been interviewed by the FBI in the immediate aftermath of the violence when she spoke to the media Sunday, which was confirmed by the FBI in Denver.
“The work that I do, that me and my fiancé do in the world, is we bring people together, we open them up to harmony of religion, of race, of homosexuality, of orientation — whatever it may be,” she said, according to The Daily Camera. “Acceptance of humanity, of each other, to live in harmony with our Earth. For us, this is the most tragic thing that can happen.”