Employees at a Florida gun shop declined to sell Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen bulk ammunition last month after seeing him engage in suspicious behavior, according to a published report.
Staff at Lotus Gunworks of South Florida, located in Jensen Beach near Mateen's home, told The Wall Street Journal that Mateen had also asked for heavy-duty body armor of a type typically used by law enforcement. The store does not sell body armor.
Robbie Abell, the store's co-owner, said that Mateen spoke on the phone in a Middle Eastern-sounding language and was repeatedly texting on his phone.
"[He] just seemed very odd,” Abell told the Journal. “The questions he was asking were not the normal questions a normal person would be asking."
Employees eventually turned Mateen away.
"If something is suspicious, it’s our discretion,” Abell said. “We are the gatekeeper."
Federal investigators say that in the week before he murdered 49 people at the Pulse nighclub in Orlando, Mateen visited another gun shop, where he purchased a pistol and a .223 SIG Sauer semiautomatic rifle.
The Journal also reported that Mateen had been kicked out of a training academy for would-be corrections officers in 2007 after he allegedly threatened to bring a gun onto the academy's campus.
One former cadet said Mateen referenced the 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, in which 32 people were killed, and said "something like that could happen here in the academy class."
Another former classmate told the Journal Mateen threatened to shoot his classmates after his hamburger touched pork at an academy cookout. That classmate, Susanne Coburn Laforest, said Mateen "flipped out", told people not to laugh at him, and said "he was going to come back and shoot us."
However, representatives of the school and the local sheriff's office said they had no record of any disciplinary actions involving Mateen.