On Monday, Ed Henson held a press conference outside the St. Lucie Shooting Center in Port Saint Lucie, where Omar Mateen bought the weapons he carried into the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando Sunday morning. Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others before he was killed by a SWAT team. Henson said that Mateen lawfully bought the guns, which included an AR-type rifle, and vowed not to be considered a villain.
Fox News host Sean Hannity told TVNewser that Henson is a second cousin.
Here’s what you need to know about Henson and Mateen’s weapons.
1. Mateen Lawfully Bought His Weapons
Mateen purchased a .223 caliber AR-type rifle, which he used in the shooting. He also carried a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at the nightclub, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said. Henson told the media Monday that Mateen bought the guns within the last two weeks and days apart, reports NBC News. He passed the background checks before buying.
“He’s evil. We happen to be the gun shop he picked,” Henson said of Mateen. He also said that Mateen would have just bought them at another store if he didn’t sell them.
2. Henson Denies the Rumor Mateen Wanted Body Armor From Him
There was a rumor that Mateen wanted to buy body armor, but Henson said he had “no recollection” of anyone wanting to buy body armor from him. “We don’t sell body armor,” Henson said, reports RNN.
CNN reported that Mateen did try to get body armor, but went to a store that doesn’t sell that.
Mateen tried to get body armor from Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida. Robert Abell, that store’s co-owner, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/orlando-shooter-turned-gun-store-suspicious/story?id=39901107" said on Thursday that he did tell the FBI that a “very suspicious” man was in his store.
3. Henson Only ‘Vaguely’ Remembered Mateen
Henson told the Sun Sentinel that he only “vaguely” remembered Mateen.
“He’s a nobody,” Henson said. “He’s a customer. He came and purchased his guns and he left. We do a large business.”
However, Henson still felt awful that his shop sold the weapons used in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“It is horrific, this terrible act that has happened,” he told the Sun Sentinel. “My condolences to all the families. I’m working with law enforcement and cooperating with them.”
Henson said that his shop was not being shut down but was under a routine inspection by an ATF agent on Monday.
4. Henson Posted Derogatory Comments About Islam & Obama
According to PIX11, Henson is a retired New York Police Department detective. He was an officer for 20 years and retired in 2002. He was also a first responder during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and was also at the scene of the Flight 587 crash in Queens.
The New York Daily News reports that Henson also posted derogatory comments on Facebook about Muslims and President Obama. “In the name of freedom: F–k Islam, F–k Allah. F–k Muhammad. F–k the Koran. F–k people who support terrorism,” he once wrote next to a photo on Facebook.
“He should be handcuffed, removed from Office and charged with Treason and then publicly executed!” Henson once wrote about Obama on Facebook, reports the Daily News. “How can the American People and military stand by and do nothing while this piece of s–t puts everyone of us in danger.”
5. Mateen Had a Security Officer License
As the Sun Sentinel notes, Mateen had a Class D security officer license from Florida, in addition to a Class G gun permit that allowed him to legally carry two concealed weapons. The Class D license can be obtained after 40 hours of professional training and passing criminal background checks and mental health screenings.
USA Today reports that Mateen worked for the G4S security firm for nearly nine years. The company, which is based in the U.K., said that they never saw signs of concern from Mateen.
“Mateen underwent company screening and background checks when he was recruited in 2007 and the check revealed nothing of concern. His screening was repeated in 2013 with no findings,” CEO John Kenning said. However, Kenning did say that they were aware that the FBI was investigating Mateen in 2013.