Gun Store Owner Says He Warned FBI About Mateen

Video of terror inside Pulse Orlando surfaces
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2016 5:08 AM CDT
Updated Jun 17, 2016 6:47 AM CDT

A missed chance? Even without his name on a watch list, Orlando gunman Omar Mateen raised suspicions in at least one gun store in the weeks before he slaughtered 49 people at the Pulse nightclub. Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Fla., tells ABC that a man he now knows was Mateen tried to buy high-end body armor of a kind typically used by law enforcement and 1,000 rounds of ammo five or six weeks ago. He says Mateen asked strange questions and made staff uncomfortable, so they turned him away and informed the local FBI office about the would-be customer. Abell says there was a follow-up conversation with the FBI, but agents never visited the store—and without a sale, the store didn't have a name to give to investigators. In other coverage:

  • Massacre survivor Miguel Leiva has shared video from the bathroom stall where he huddled for hours with around a dozen other people, some of whom had already been shot. It provides a glimpse of the terror inside the club in the hours before a SWAT team moved in. "It was really hot in there, the smell of blood and just dead bodies everywhere," Leiva tells CBS.

  • The New York Times has interviews with several survivors, including people who suffered multiple bullet wounds. Angel Colon has a chilling account of trying to play dead as the gunman shot wounded people on the floor.
  • Law enforcement sources tell CNN that Mateen texted his wife hours after the attack began, asking her if she had seen the news. She told him she loved him and tried to call several times, the sources say.
  • The Miami Herald reports on a mysterious incident from Mateen's past: His firing from a job in a state prison midway through his training, apparently over an incident involving serious misconduct.
  • The Orlando Sentinel reports on President Obama's visit to Orlando Thursday, where he met with victims' relatives in private. "Today, once again, as has been true so many times before, I held and hugged grieving family members and parents," Obama told reporters afterward. "And they asked, 'Why does this keep happening?'"
  • The Palm Beach Post looks at the possible charges against Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, and at why an indictment could take a long time.
(There were moving scenes when JetBlue fliers realized a fellow Orlando-bound passenger was mourning a grandson killed in the attack.)

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