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Gunshop Owner Turned Mateen Away Weeks Before Orlando Shooting

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Casey Harper Contributor

A Florida gun store owner turned away Orlando shooter Omar Mateen from his gun shop for acting suspicious less than two months before he opened fire on a gay nightclub.

Mateen tried to buy a large amount of ammunition and heavy duty body armor from Lotus Gunworks of South Florida. The co-owner, Robbie Abell, turned him away. He said he heard Mateen, the soon-to-be shooter, talking on the phone in what sounded like a Middle Eastern language, The Wall Street Journal reports. He said Mateen was texting and was asking unusual questions about body armor.

Turns out he was right.

“If something is suspicious, it’s our discretion,” Mr. Abell said. “We are the gatekeeper.”

Mateen ended up finding a different store to buy his supplies for the attack. Mateen reportedly called 911 to declare his allegiance to Islamic State before opening fire on Pulse nightclub. Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more before he was killed by police.

A grand jury will reportedly investigate Mateen’s widow to see how much she knew about the attack before it occurred and what level of involvement she may have had. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Orlando Thursday and met with survivors and victims’ families.

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