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Gun Shop Owner Reported Omar Mateen To FBI As “Suspicious” Five Weeks Before Terrorist Attack

June 17, 2016

A Florida gun shop owner said he attempted to alert the FBI of a “suspicious” customer, identified as Omar Mateen, the Orlando terrorist who killed 49 people and injuring more than 50 more.


Robert Abell, an owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida told ABC News a “suspicious” man entered his store about five weeks prior to the Orlando terrorist attack asking about a specific type of body armor. The store told him that they did not carry the type of body armor and he proceeded to make a phone call in a foreign language.

Omar Mateen is from an Afghan family and his father is known to speak Dari and Pashto, based on his pro-Taliban youtube channel. He hung up and then asked about ammunition in bulk. The type of body armor he asked about isn’t normally sold to civilians.

“The questions he was asking were not the normal questions a normal person would be asking… He just seemed very odd,” Abell told The Wall Street Journal. Abell said he “shut him down on all sales.”

Abell said they called the local FBI office and reported the man, but he never received a name because he never sold him anything. The quality of the surveillance footage was poor and they couldn’t get facial recognition.

The FBI never investigated further into the incident besides speaking with the owner in a follow-up conversation.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, Abell told ABC News that he contacted the FBI to tell them that terrorist Omar Mateen was the same “suspicious” person that walked into his store five weeks prior. FBI Director James Comey said Monday that there wasn’t anything the “agents should have done differently.”