Store alerted FBI when Omar Mateen tried to buy body armor, ammo in bulk

Omar Mateen tried to buy body armor at Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach. WPEC.

An employee of a gun store in Jensen Beach says the man involved in the terror attack at a nightclub in Orlando tried to buy Level 3 body armor.

The store said it reported the unusual request to the FBI, weeks before the shootings.

According to a manager at Lotus Gunworks, Omar Mateen came into the store about four or five weeks ago. The workers told him they didn't carry Level 3 body armor.

An employee at the store told CBS12 Mateen then asked where he could get that kind of armor, and asked if the store sold any higher-grade body armor. Workers said no.

The store told CBS12 Mateen also asked about buying ammunition in bulk. The store said not on that day.

The employee said Mateen then called someone on his phone and spoke to them in Arabic.

The owner of Lotus Gunworks said in a news conference Thursday he reported the unusual request to the FBI who has repeatedly asked for people to "see something, say something," if they witness anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

"He slipped through the cracks," said Robbie Abell. Abell said he alerted authorities on two other occasions which led to prison time for the prospective gun buyers. "We did our job."

The gun shop owner who eventually sold Mateen the weapons he used to kill people at Pulse Nightclub said he passed the required background checks to legally make the purchase.

Weeks later, Mateen would buy an AR-15 and 9mm handgun at a store in Port St. Lucie after passing a full background check. "An evil person came in here and he legally purchased two firearms from us," said owner Ed Henson,

Mateen, according to CBS News, posted a chilling message on Facebook shortly before opening fire at Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando Sunday morning.

The shootings left 49 people dead.

Police killed Mateen in a shootout.

A grand jury is investigating Mateen's wife, Noor Salman. Reports say she tried to talk Mateen out of the attack, and went with him as he bought ammo. She could face charges for not alerting authorities about the plot.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off