JENSEN BEACH (CBS12) — The owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach says his employees contacted federal agents after a man was inside of the store weeks ago asking for body armor and a thousand rounds of assault rifle ammunition.
Robbie Abell, owner of Lotus Gunworks, says they didn't realize it was Omar Mateen until after an employee recognized him on TV after the shootings.
"It's the sickest feeling you could have in your stomach. It was him, he was here," said Abell.
Robbie Abell, owner of Lotus Gunworks, corroborated what a store manager told CBS 12 earlier on Thursday.
Abell said Mateen came into the store alone and asked for high grade body armor.
According to Abell, the employee told Mateen that they didn't carry it.
Abell said Mateen walked away to talk on the cell phone in a foreign language, which a manager told us he believes was Arabic.
Mateen then asked for a thousand rounds of of .223 ammo, which is the type of round that would go into an AR assault rifle, according to Abell.
Abell says his manager, who was then suspicious, lied to Mateen and told him they did not have that ammo.
We're told Mateen quickly left the store and after discussing the incident, the store employees contacted the FBI.
Abell says he's proud of his employees for speaking up but he says most gun stores would do the exact same thing.
"Here's a prime example of trying to do the right thing and we got so close to it and he slipped through the cracks," Abell said, "What we're doing wasn't special. We're just doing what every gun shop in the United States should do. That is being responsible and doing everything we can to keep people who shouldn't have the firearms in their hands, away from them."
Unfortunately, Abell says the surveillance footage was too poor to identify him and was eventually recorded over.
Abell says they have had numerous conversations with the FBI since the attacks.