The man suspected of killing 50 people and wounding 53 in a mass shooting Sunday in Florida was employed by G4S Plc, a British security firm whose clients in more than 100 countries include the U.S. government.
Omar Mateen, 29, is a U.S. citizen who declared allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group in the hours before the largest mass shooting in the nation’s history at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had investigated Mateen twice before, interviewing him each time before closing the probes, according to an FBI spokesman. Mateen died in a shootout with police.
Mateen had been a G4S employee since Sept. 10, 2007, and the company is cooperating with the FBI, John Kenning, its chief executive officer for North America, said in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened by the tragic event that occurred at the Orlando nightclub,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy.”
G4S has seen its stock drop 34 percent over the past year to a market value of 2.9 billion pounds ($4.1 billion). The London-based company has reported losses on a costly contract with the U.K. government to house asylum seekers and in 2012 was criticized for failing to supply enough security for the Olympics in London.
G4S was consistently one of the biggest federal contractors government after the September 11 terrorist attacks, mostly with the U.S. departments of Homeland Security and State, according to Kevin Brancato, an analyst with Bloomberg Government. The firm’s deals with the government shrank to $89.3 million in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The company employs 611,000 people worldwide, running prisons, providing security at airports and ports, and managing cash transports, according to its website. Its U.S. headquarters are in Jupiter, Florida, about 150 miles southeast of Orlando.
“They are a considerably smaller player in the federal space than they used to be,” Brancato said, adding that the company may not have known about the FBI probes unless it was contacted directly. The FBI declined to comment on whether it had communicated with G4S about its investigations.
Born in New York to Afghan parents, Mateen was licensed as a security guard in Florida, according to state records. Mateen was married in 2009 and divorced in 2011, a woman who identified herself as Mateen’s ex-wife told the Washington Post on the condition that her name not be used.
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