Gun store reported Omar Mateen to FBI five weeks prior to Orlando shooting
Published 17/06/2016 | 13:01
The owner of a gun shop in Florida says Omar Mateen, the gunman in the Orlando nightclub shootings, came to his shop to buy body armour and 1,000 rounds of ammunition about five weeks before the rampage.
Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, said Mateen left empty-handed and that the shop alerted the FBI, but since no sale was made, the shop did not check the man's ID and had no name to give the authorities.
"Our intuition was correct and it's just, it's very sad that we had him that close, he was that close that law enforcement could have got their hands on him," said Abell.
"It's the sickest feeling you could ever have to your stomach.
"That was him, he's here - if you don't think we're compassionate - there's nothing more heartbreaking. Innocent people died for no reason.
"It's just how could it have been prevented?"
Abell says the shop declined the sale because the customer raised suspicions by requesting a high grade of body armour typically used by law enforcement.
Abell says store staff realised the customer was nightclub shooter Omar Mateen only after seeing reports about the carnage in Orlando.