Veteran G4S Security Guard Murders 49 In Orlando

By IPVM Team, Published Jun 13, 2016, 11:09am EDT

The worst mass shooter in US history is a G4S security guard.

One of the largest security companies in the world, G4S, employed the murderer since 2007.

In this note, we we examine the background, why this is a problem for the security industry and issues in screening security employees.

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Comments (42)

Omar Mateen was employed by G4S at a residential community in South Florida and was off-duty at the time of the incident.

Off-duty or on-duty, he was on the payroll and off his rocker...

That is what G4S should be judged on.

I find it puzzling that G4S noted he was 'off duty'. Is the implication that because of that they are not responsible then? Or do they really feel they need to make it clear that they did not pay him to do this?

Any distance they can put between themselves and the crime they will. Had he quit the day before I'm sure he would have been the "former employee".

Maybe G4S will fire him now...

Not without a warning...

The company is making it clear to lawyers and the media that the company has no liability for this tragedy. If the terrorist were on-duty, the company would be bankrupt quickly.

...if the terrorist were on-duty, the company would be bankrupt quickly.

Morally I agree with the sentiment.

Legally, though I think the mere fact of him being on the clock or not has little bearing to their liability, all other facts staying the same.

Which makes it even more pathetic that they are stressing this point.

Jeff, I do agree that if he was on-duty at that nightclub, the liability would seem to be significant (i.e., they hired a security company for security and instead the security employee's company murdered them). I am curious what the liability would be if he was technically on-duty at say a resort and left his post to do this. Would the security company be responsible for that?

Yes, the company would be liable. In that circumstance, the company is responsible for supervising its employees.

Years ago we had a driver that was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was no where near where he was supposed to be It was on us to clean it up. Fortunately for all involved, the consequences were minor.

I really don't think it's an unreasonable statement, conceptually. They can only be accountable for taking action on issues they are aware of. If he is a model security officer -- as stated above -- but wacked out off-duty, should they be accountable for know that? I think they failed in how they worded that statement, but I think that conceptually, it is sound.

"According to Gilroy, he made complaints to G4S about Mateen, but G4S did not appear to act on those reports."

Of course, there were complaints about him, but there is no indication that the complaints relevant to this issue.

I've used G4S and am no fan of theirs (at all), but I think we need to be balanced in evaluating the statement.

If he is a model security officer -- as stated above

Where did G4S say he was a 'model security officer'? I had not seen anything like that.

All the details will come out over the next few months. If that does turn out to be the case, it will be good for G4S.

Minimally, it is reasonable that G4S is put under a microscope until authorities can determine all the details. Similarly, you would think large end users of G4S would need to do the same.

"Where did G4S say he was a 'model security officer'?"

I referring to this:

"In this incident the shooter was, at least on the surface, the kind of person held up as being the model of a responsible person.", though I misspoke and used the term "model security officer".

The point remains, though, that if he is held up as "the model of a responsible person", should G4S be accountable for his off-duty actions? Which, also prompts the question: "Had G4S identified him as a problem and taken action (fired him, for example), would that have stopped the shooting? Of course not. Had they gone to the FBI...well, the FBI already assessed him twice.

So, I still wonder: For what should G4S be held accountable?

Mateen was the "model of a responsible person" because he fit the description of what I think most people would think of when they think "someone who is not likely to kill 49 people in a nightclub", he was working as a security guard, possessed a valid firearm license, was (to some degree) vetted by his employer.

In the link I provided in the article ( you can read where one resident commented that he was "a gentleman", and did not raise any alarms.

I think that some people would feel Mateen was a responsible person partly because his employer effectively vouched for him. They performed some form of screening, and offered him a job. G4S is a large, well-known company, a guard employee wearing their logo would, I think, be more highly regarded than someone wearing an "Al's Guards and Towing" jacket.

So, I still wonder: For what should G4S be held accountable?

It's hard to say how much G4S should be held accountable in a pure sense, but I think you could argue that G4S may have a responsibility to perform higher level screening than a smaller guard company because of their larger employee and investor base. If public faith in G4S, on the investor or customer side, is eroded it could have a very large ripple effect on the security community at large. Would you agree?

G4S is an absolute joke of a company. Here in the UK I thought the Olympics fiasco where the British army had to be drafted in to save the day would have seen a significant demise in the company but alas that was not the case.

There must be some heavily invested political interest in this company for it to be still going the way it is.

Unfortunately, the guard industry is really a commodity. Poor benefits and extremely low wages are the norm for the industry. Realize that most companies which employ guard companies are just looking to minimally comply with regulations that are specific to their industry. Essentially, any warm body will do. This is not exclusive to G4S but simply a sign of the commoditization of the the industry. Until the companies hiring these guard services push for higher quality at higher cost that is unlikely to change... and I doubt that will occur.

3, that's reasonable but what does this mean for G4S now? Can they keep their standards the same or are they forced to be more selective?

Even if companies (buyers of guard services) are no more selective, can G4S take the risk of having another such situation? Even if they can avoid or survive litigation (he was 'off duty'), what is the reputation effect of employing another murder?

G4S could lead the way like ALL BIG companies that lead in their particular fields by paying staff more but they don't. They have the capital to pay more and get better results but they don't.

More money for share holders (who realistically are a few disguised as a hedge fund to protect anonymity)

I can tell you from people that have worked for them that during the Olympics they thought they could easily fill those positions by drafting in guards from all over the country. They offered them a tiny amount more than they would normally get and the guards had to find there own transport down and their own accommodation (which even in the suburbs of London is expensive).

They realised when it was to late and no one took them up on the offer that they would have to step up recruiting by which time there was non left to vet/train/organise and uniform new staff.

Its a shambolic company that couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery and yet they still get government contracts.

I suspect they be a lot of hot air then after a while it will all be forgotten or brushed under the carpet.

They should be held accountable!

shambolic company that couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery

I had to look it up, but evidently that's a real saying :)

Thanks for the feedback.

I suspect they be a lot of hot air then after a while it will all be forgotten or brushed under the carpet.

They should be held accountable!

For this shooting?

There will always be noise about this horrific event and it will definitely have some impact on their business, but once media attention has shifted it is BAU. For some reason we have short memories unless it affects us personally.

As I alluded to in another post, I think regular psychological screenings would be effective (not absolute, there are no absolutes in human behavior) in weeding out emotionally unbalanced people or have misaligned values, but that would cost money. Unless a regulation were made (get over it people, companies do not police themselves very well) to equally make all guard companies implement psych screenings, it will never happen.

Any accusation from a fellow employee should have been investigated, especially being a security guard. I have been investigated by a previous employer for sexual harassment that a fellow employee accused me of, anonymously. I was cleared as the complaint was baseless. In this case, the fellow employee came forward and G4S should have taken it seriously.

Question: does a screening method exist that would identify someone like this without giving too many false positives?

We have to recognize that all outrage, frustration and recriminations aside, the guard services industry is built upon "lowest bidder prevails" models and is not the fault of G4S or any other provider serving the typical guard services client. They screen as well as the margin allows but in this case there wasn't a preceding act by the attacker that would have compelled his employer to see him as a threat and act. One employee reporting wild talk or aggressive fantasizing by another is cause for concern but its hard for the employer to sort out the level of instability until it reveals itself in actions or performance problems.

An updated version of Hell in Dante's model might well be employment as the human resources manager for a guard services company!

How is it we hear of all these waring signs after someone kills 50 people. On an FBI watch list but he is able to purchase guns and carry one for his work??? Mind blowing!!

So no mention of the fact that his co-worker reported to G4S that he wanted to kill people...apparently that wasn't enough of a red flag? That flag is pretty red now...with the blood of 50 victims.

I worked closely with G4S on the product side for the past 15 years and overall they were pretty good until recently...too many top management doubt brought about by the financial bloodletting after the Olympic sad.

Heart goes out to those who have sustained the loss of a loved one...

Considering G4S is contracted with the fed govt and had him on a federal jobsite at one time or another from what I read, they are 100% liable because other employees made complaints about his behavior and insane threats... they failed to act on employee complaints and properly screen him. if it was sexual harassment, they would be liable if something happened to an employee and others were complaining.

I am a G4S employee. I did not know nor have I worked with Omar Mateen, nor do I have any specific first-hand knowledge of him, never met him, had no interaction with him, nor do I have specific knowledge of his employment with G4S. I am not speaking on behalf of the company by any means.

As employees, we have been told that G4S has no record of any complaint from Mateen's co-worker mentioned in media reports, and that nobody at G4S had knowledge of Mateen's evil thoughts or actions. G4S is fully complying with the FBI and law enforcement in their investigations.

Personally, I'm sure I feel the same way as the rest of our 50,000+ North American employees, I am in shock and deeply saddened. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, and victims of this tragedy in Orlando.

9, thanks for the feedback! Very helpful.

At a former job in a former industry I had an employee murdered on the job, by another employee. They were romantically involved and she called it off, but while he was "off duty" he came to the building, caused a malfunction with the equipment she was operating, and when she went to check on it he shot her in the head. Needless to say I and the rest of his coworkers were shocked. "He didn't seem like the type" etc. was said a lot the next few weeks. The company was not held liable for his actions even though he came to work dressed in his uniform and displayed his employee ID to gain access to the property. We had no evidence, and believe me the local law enforcement searched, that he was unhinged in any way. We had one of his coworkers tell us after the fact that he said something to the effect of "I won't let her go" after the breakup, but there was still no physical proof he was going to go crazy. All that to say hind site is 20/20...

From the NYTimes June 18th:

In 2013, G4S removed Mr. Mateen from his security post at the St. Lucie County Courthouse after he had made “inflammatory comments” about being involved somehow in terrorism.

If this is true, this seems like a real issue for G4S. Even if it does not lead to legal liability, the risk to their reputation and to future business would be significant.

And here is a report from NBC along the same lines, with more details, raising serious concern:

FBI Director James Comey said earlier this week that colleagues said Mateen claimed to have family connections to terror groups al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and that he hoped law enforcement would raid his home "so he could martyr himself."

Those remarks prompted courthouse officials to request Mateen's immediate removal from the St. Lucie County Courthouse, and to make "the appropriate notifications to inform our federal partners," including the FBI, according to county Sheriff Ken Mascara.

G4S did immediately transfer Mateen to the PGA gated retirement community, where the spokesman said he sat in a kiosk and checked the IDs of visitors.

The G4S spokesman said that even while Mateen technically could still carry a weapon for the firm, and probably had one in his company car, the shift was from an armed position to one considered unarmed.

So, G4S had a government client (the courthouse) demand Mateen to be removed based on those threats, and G4S reassigned him to a residential community instead of firing him there?

Imagine, you are a community who hired G4S. "Oh, you're going to love your new security guard. He's got a lot of great experienced working courthouses but because he threatened to be a terrorist and kill people, we got an opportunity for him to work in your community."

So, G4S had a government client (the courthouse) demand Mateen to be removed based on those threats...

As far as I can tell, no one on the record or off is saying what reasons they gave for requesting he be removed. That is kinda important in establishing how reckless G4S was, agree?

One might assume that they told them everything, but sometimes people want someone gone with the least possible conflict, especially regarding someone who could be vengeful.

The company says his transfer didn't look like a disciplinary action and no g4s employees at the courthouse had made any complaints about Mateen.

Do you see anybody saying what was told to g4s about Mateen's behavior at the courthouse?

And if the way Mateen was treated by G4S was not an anomaly, but rather is indicative of the company's policies as a whole, I would expect quite a few people will be getting terminated shortly, as G4S scours their records for similar employees.

no one on the record or off is saying what reasons they gave for requesting he be removed.

First of all, the courthouse did not request Mateen simply be removed, they requested 'immediate removal'.

So you are assuming now that the courthouse would not tell their security provider G4S the reason for the 'immediate removal', and that G4S either did not ask or could not find out from asking the 'colleagues' at the courthouse that he made this threat to. That is a highly unreasonable assumption.

Next, G4S demoted him:

the shift was from an armed position to one considered unarmed

So G4S demoted Mateen from protecting a courthouse to checking retiree's IDs, even though, according to your interpretation, G4S had no idea why the courthouse required his 'immediate removal'.

Your basing this on this paragraph:

The G4S official said he did not know the specific details of the transfer except that it did not appear to be for disciplinary or precautionary reasons. "It's not as if a decision was taken that he was never again going to be given an armed position," he said.

Notice the G4S person is heavily qualifying his response - 'did not know the specific details', 'did not appear to be'. But the official contradicts himself at the end by acknowledging that he was, at least then, demoted from an armed to an unarmed position. If G4S had no knowledge of what happened at the courthouse (which again is unreasonable to assume), why demote him to an unarmed position even then?

Finally, the end of the report confirms that G4S talked to Mateen about this:

After the transfer, Mateen had at least one discussion with G4S about the events before the matter was considered resolved.

Now, it is not clear how G4S 'resolved' this but it is unreasonable to assume they did not know that Mateen made threats.

"So you are assuming now that the courthouse would not tell their security provider G4S the reason for the 'immediate removal'..."

They may have told them at some point or they may have found out some other way, I don't know.

But regarding what the courthouse told G4S the reason for the 'immediate removal' was, this was the actual letter sent:

So, death threats become aggressive posturing, at least officially, and are enough to say to get him reassigned without further ado.

Which is what I meant by:

"One might assume that they told them everything, but sometimes people want someone gone with the least possible conflict, especially regarding someone who could be vengeful."

So I'm not sure exactly when the learned of the actual death threats and what they thought of them at that point, but since they may have not fully aware of the extent of Omar's behavior when he was transferred, it makes more sense why he wasn't terminated right then.

Thanks for sharing. Very interesting.

since they may have not fully aware of the extent of Omar's behavior when he was transferred

They may not but this does not prove.

The letter makes it clear that whatever happened on that day was so significant that they decided to expel him on the same day.

The question becomes did anyone at the court tell anyone at G4S management what this 'behavior' truly was. Did G4S management (e.g., the Mark Dolan who the email was sent to) ask or find out? I find it hard to believe he did not, and as I mentioned previously a source confirmed from G4S that they did know the threats at the time.

"The letter makes it clear that whatever happened on that day was so significant that they decided to expel him on the same day."

It looks like they may have already decided to ax him days before, right AFTER the FBI told the courthouse that they believed his inflammatory statements were a response to him being teased daily about his faith.

Here is the internal courthouse e-mail, which starts by saying that the FBI doesn't consider him a threat and ends with a courthouse deputy recommending he be reassigned elsewhere (its in reverse email order). They were to decide on Monday what to do, and the request to G4S was made Wednesday morning.

In any event, whatever transpired on Oct 3, could NOT have been the death threat that Sheriff Mascara referred to at the G4S meeting, as a careful reading of the TC Palm article shows, since it is what spurred the 10 month long FBI investigation.

The FBI investigation started in May 2013 and went til March 2014. Omar was interviewed at least once in September. Then, a few days after he courthouse was told that Omar was NOT a threat, the courthouse let him go.

Here are the G4S interview notes with Omar, from Nov 2013, offerring Omar's explanations for his comments.

One thing to note is that in all the statements made by FBI, G4S, Omar and in the courthouse emails there is no mention of the specific threat from Omar to kill a "deputy's entire familiy". This statement only comes after the shooting from Sheriff Mascara.

Do I believe Omar said it in March?

Yes. I think he said it or something like it, possibly on numerous occasions, But, as the FBI concluded, it was not credible because it was in response to constant harranging on a daily basis by the deputies. Mascara himself alludes when he says "a deputy mentioned the Middle East" to Omar. Why? What did he mention exactly, that it was a nice place? And Omar got agitated?

The fact that at least some genuine instigation by the courthouse employees transpired, made it hard to see Omar in a clear light.

And not having the benefit of posterity, they made the decision based on the facts known.

More evidence from another G4S official that G4S absolutely knew about these threats. See Exclusive: PGA Village residents want answers from security firm

Money quote:

In an interview with G4S management shortly after the courthouse comments, Mateen told his superiors he was the target of inflammatory comments from co-workers because of his Islamic faith, Levine said. The interview, Levine said, took place shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, which was carried out by two Islamic extremist brothers. Levine said Mateen claimed his co-workers on one occasion asked him what suicide vest he was wearing on a particular day.

G4S concluded Mateen worked in a hostile environment and did not fire him, [G4S] Levine said.

So G4S knew about the threats but decided that Mateen was the victim here. Quite a mistake.

So G4S knew about the threats but decided that Mateen was the victim here.

This shows they got Mateen's story, whatever that was. I still don't see anyone stepping up and saying "we (g4s) knew he threatened to kill the deputy" or "I told g4s he threatened to kill me", etc. They may very well have known, but in the absense of direct testimony to that effect, I think they will continue with this type of statement:

I don't believe we had a gap, because whatever transformed Omar Mateen into the monster he became, we didn't have a view of that and that's substantiated by the numerous interviews we had with our employees," Levine said.

I just received confirmation from a person who attended the meeting that G4S acknowledged that G4S management knew about the specific threat to kill the Deputy's Sheriff back in 2013.

That's big, IMHO.

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