Owner of gun shop that refused body armor and ammo to Orlando sh - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Owner of gun shop that refused body armor and ammo to Orlando shooter speaks to WDRB

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Florida gun shop refused to sell weapons to the man police say later killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub. 

That gun shop's owner also operates a Louisville store - and spoke with WDRB on Thursday about why his employees refused Omar Mateen. 

"Our salesman got very concerned about it, and just informed him we do not have this body armor."

Lotus Gunworks Owner Robert Abell spoke to the media Thursday in Florida. 

He confirms Mateen, 29, came to the Lotus Gunworks location in Jensen Beach about four or five weeks ago. 

The manager working at the time, with a military background, became suspicious when Mateen asked to buy body armor and bulk ammo. 

"At this time, he pulled away and got on to the cell phone," Abell said. "When he was on the cell phone, he had a conversation in a foreign language that was more concerning. Then he came back, and he was requesting ammo."

The employee told Mateen they didn't have bulk ammo either, and then Mateen left. 

Abell says the shop called authorities to report the strange encounter, but would not specify who they alerted. 

We spoke to Abell by phone as he also owns this Lotus Gunworks in Jeffersontown. Abell says his employees at any store have the right to refuse a sale to anyone if they feel uncomfortable for any reason, and that he considers gun shop staff "watchdogs." 

"Here's a prime example of trying to do the right thing, and we got so close to it, and unfortunately, he slipped through the cracks," Abell said.

"This is where we're at. Everybody takes that we're not heartfelt because we sell guns, and that couldn't be the furthest from the truth." 

Mateen legally purchased the two weapons he used, a handgun and a semiautomatic rifle, from another gun store in Florida.

He was not wearing body armor during the attack.

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