(ORLANDO, Fla.) — The owner of a Florida gun store said Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen tried to buy body armor and bulk ammunition from his store just a few weeks before the shooting, but his staff turned him away.
“We knew by the questions he was asking he was suspicious,” Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, told ABC News.
An alert salesperson refused to sell to Mateen, and Abell said he contacted authorities about Mateen prior to the massacre. The local sheriff’s office said they were unaware of the incident at the gun store and other local authorities, including the local FBI office, have not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.
The FBI is aware of and is investigating Mateen’s visit to Lotus, officials said.
Law enforcement officials said Mateen, who was killed by police after gunning down 49 people in the early hours Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, was not wearing body armor during the attack. He legally purchased the two weapons he used in the attack — a Glock handgun and a Sig Sauer semi-automatic rifle — from another gun store in Florida over a few days before his assault.
Mateen began his attack at around 2 a.m. Sunday. At some point that morning, he posted on Facebook his allegiance to ISIS, a demand that the U.S. and Russia “stop bombing” the Syria-based terrorist group and a warning of attacks to come, FBI officials said.
“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance,” Mateen posted, according to officials in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic State in the usa.”
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