According to the Wall Street Journal, Robert Abell -- co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida -- remembers that Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen came to his shop in May to make a bulk purchase of ammunition and for body armor. Abell said that while he was in the store, Mateen sent several text messages on his cellphone while taking calls and speaking in what sounded like Arabic. It was Mateen who was to gun down 49 people on June 12 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, after having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Abell said of the 29-year-old Mateen, “[He] just seemed very odd.” The young Mateen unnerved the sales people at the gun shop. Abell added, “The questions he was asking were not the normal questions a normal person would be asking.”
The shop did not stock the body armor Mateen was seeking, and the staff turned him down on the purchase of ammunition. Abell said that the clerks then contacted law enforcement officials to tell them about Mateen as soon as he left the shop. “If something is suspicious, it’s our discretion [to not sell],” Abell said. “We are the gatekeeper.”
Mateen received visits from FBI agents in 2014, who sought to talk to him about threats he had made. Nevertheless, U.S. citizen Mateen passed a background check and worked as a security guard and was legally in possession of the pistol and Sig Sauer rifle he used in the attack. Witnesses also claim to have seen him at the Pulse nightclub in the months prior to the attack. The FBI eventually ceased its investigation into Mateen.
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