Omar Mateen, the Islamic State-affiliated jihadi responsible for the killing of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last week, spent almost $9,000 at a Kay Jewelers a week before the attack. This is the latest in a string of large, bizarre financial moves made by Mateen shortly before the massacre.
ABC News confirmed with the Kay Jewelers vendor in question that Mateen spent that money, though it is not yet clear what he spent it on – whether one expensive item or a variety of smaller purchases. In a report published Friday, CNN noted that a source had claimed Mateen had bought his wife “an expensive piece of jewelry” shortly before the attack, though that report did not indicate where it was purchased or how expensive it was, leaving unclear whether that purchase was the same as the one at Kay.
ABC News quotes Signet, the parent company to Kay Jewelers, asserting in a statement that it is “working closely with authorities” and is “shocked and deeply saddened by the violent acts against the LGBT community.” They have not publicly provided any more details, however.
In addition to the jewelry purchase, Mateen made a number of financial decisions that point to his premeditation in orchestrating the Pulse attack. For example, shortly before the terrorist attack, Mateen transferred ownership of his house to his sister, Sabrina Abasin, and her husband, “selling” the property for $10. His wife, Noor Salman, is documented as a witness to the transfer.
CNN notes that Salman told authorities Mateen had spent “thousands of dollars” shortly before the attack, not just on the jewelry but on guns and ammunition. The Kay Jewelers he patronized, ABC notes, is near Lotus Gunworks of South Florida, a shop at which Mateen tried to purchase body armor and heavy-duty artillery. The owner of Lotus contacted the FBI following Mateen’s visit, reporting the presence of a “suspicious” man at his store to which he refused to sell weapons.
In investigating the extent to which Mateen premeditated the massacre he orchestrated, authorities are also looking into possible accomplices. The FBI is closely investigating Salman, though she has not yet been arrested, despite her knowledge of his plan, even driving him to Pulse on occasion to scope out the location.
CNN notes that, during the massacre, Mateen also spoke with a yet-unidentified friend about his decision to attack in the name of the Islamic State terrorist group. The friend, described as a “medical professional,” reportedly called Mateen after seeing his Facebook posts pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and “discussed medication” with him.
Investigators are also looking for information that may indicate whether Mateen received terror training abroad. Mateen made two trips to Saudi Arabia, in 2011 and 2012, which the FBI previously looked into while Mateen was on their terror watch list. (He was subsequently removed.) At least one of these trips was funded by the Islamic Center at New York University, which has a program to send Muslims in the United States to Mecca for umrah, a pilgrimage second in holiness to the mandatory hajj. Mateen is believed to have made umrah twice in subsequent years, an expensive venture unusual for a young Muslim man. While NYU is reportedly cooperating with the investigation, its Muslim Students Association has been the subject of an Islamic State probe and has been tied to an umbrella organization related to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Federal authorities insist that Mateen’s massacre was motivated by his hate of LGBT people, potentially self-hate, given evidence indicating Mateen himself used gay dating applications and frequented gay clubs, Pulse in particular. Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed Sunday, however, that none of the conversations Mateen had with authorities during negotiations shortly before his death mentioned gay people. Lynch asserted, nonetheless, that he was “obviously” motivated by homophobia. She also confirmed that authorities would release a censored version of Mateen’s conversations with law enforcement that would exclude his repeated mentions of the Islamic State and his Muslim faith.