Orlando Shooter Was Turned Away from Different Gun Store for Being ‘Suspicious’

Myspace(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The owner of a Florida gun store said Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen tried to buy body armor and bulk ammunition from his store just a few weeks before the shooting, but his staff turned him away.

"We knew by the questions he was asking he was suspicious," Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, told ABC News.

An alert salesperson refused to sell to Mateen, and Abell said he contacted authorities about Mateen prior to the massacre. The local sheriff's office said they were unaware of the incident at the gun store and other local authorities, including the local FBI office, have not responded to ABC News' requests for comment.

The FBI is aware of and is investigating Mateen's visit to Lotus, officials said.

Law enforcement officials said Mateen, who was killed by police after gunning down 49 people in the early hours Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, was not wearing body armor during the attack. He legally purchased the two weapons he used in the attack -- a Glock handgun and a Sig Sauer semi-automatic rifle -- from another gun store in Florida over a few days before his assault.

Mateen began his attack at around 2 a.m. Sunday. At some point that morning, he posted on Facebook his allegiance to ISIS, a demand that the U.S. and Russia “stop bombing” the Syria-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.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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