The gunman responsible for the deadliest U.S. mass shooting was a violent husband, according to his former wife from New Jersey.
Sitora Yusufiy said she and Omar Mateen met online while she was living in New Jersey and he was in Florida. They married in 2009, her brother confirmed with NBC10's Cydney Long, but their time together was relatively brief because once the family found out Yusufiy was being abused, they went down to Florida to get her.
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"My family literally rescued me," Yusufiy told Reuters. "The night that they were there they had to literally pull me out of his arms and find an emergency flight. I left all my belongings."
Yusufiy said Mateen was not a fervently religious man or supporter of terrorism when she was with him. Yusufiy told reporters he was bi-polar and his mental instability was the only thing she could think of that would lead him to open fire with an assault rifle at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday night. Mateen murdered 49 people and wounded another 53 before he was killed in a hail of gunfire when police stormed the club.
"He was not a stable person," she told The Washington Post. "He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn't finished or something like that."
The couple divorced in 2011 and the process took about a year and a half Yusufiy said because of the distance -- he stayed in Florida and she came back to New Jersey.
Her brother, who didn't want his first name used, said from the driveway of the family's Edison home Monday that he barely knew Mateen. "It's a terrible thing that happened, a real tragedy. I feel bad for all those 50 people, those families that lost their sons and daughters," adding his sister was doing pretty well and he was "pretty happy" she no longer is tied to him.
"She's a strong woman, as you can tell."
Sitora Yusufiy, who now lives in Boulder, Colorado was awakened by her parents Sunday morning to learn what her ex-husband had done.
"I was devastated, shocked, started shaking and crying," Yusufiy said. "I was so so deeply hurt and heartbroken for the people who lost their loved ones and the families that are now suffering."