Published On: Fri, Jun 17th, 2016

Florida gun shop owner Robert Abell details Omar Mateen ‘incident’ reported to FBI over month before terrorist attack

The owner of a Florida gun store said he tried to alert the local FBI office in West Palm Beach to a “very suspicious” man later identified as Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen when Mateen tried to buy body armor, bulk ammunition from the store, acting very “suspicious.”

Robert Abell, a co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, detailed to ABC News the incident when Mateen entered the store five or six weeks ago and asked specific questions about high-end body armor. When employees said the store didn’t carry the body armor he wanted, Abell said, the man made a phone call in a foreign language, hung up and then asked about ammunition in bulk.

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

“We gave them information and everything that took place, and that was the end of the conversation,” Abell said, admitting that they didn’t have the man’s name since no sale was made, and the only surveillance footage they had was “grainy.”

There was a follow-up conversation with agents, Abell said, but the FBI never visited the store or investigated further.

That was the end of it until he saw the news about the Orlando shooting that took place early Sunday morning and images of the man identified as the killer: Mateen, the man who Abell said was in the store.

“He slipped through the cracks,” Abell said.

Abell says he and his staff contacted the FBI again, reminding them of the initial incident.

Public affairs officials for the FBI’s Miami field office, which oversees the West Palm Beach satellite office, and at headquarters in Washington, D.C., declined comment.

Despite being “tracked” in 2013 and 2014 for ties to other terrorists, the Boston bombing, FBI Director James Comey said Monday he hadn’t seen anything that his “agents should have done differently.”

Comey also stressed the law enforcement motto “See something, say something.”

“Every single one of our cases, as we look back, someone always sees something they should have told us, and they didn’t,” he said. “So our request to you is please don’t let them make you work into a state of anxiety that is disabling. Find ways to channel that into a healthy awareness of your surroundings and live your lives.”

Abell said he thought his team had “done [its] job” after contacting authorities.

Mateen posted on Facebook his allegiance to Islamic State, a demand that the U.S. and Russia to “stop bombing” the Syrian-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.”

photo/Islamic State flag

photo/Islamic State flag


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Linda Morgan says:

    The gun store that said they reported Mateen’s suspicious questions and attempt to purchase bulk munitions was reported to the FBI. If their surveillance videos they weren’t too grainy to see this could have been avoided. Trust me I am an avid NRA and my right to bear arms, but I thought the sellers have a lot of restrictions and most dealers have excellent surveillance cameras that don’t have cheap or used over and over tape so you can’t recognize anyone. The owner should feel so much shame if you can’t see it what good is it.

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