Company that hired Orlando gunman as security guard employs hundreds in Memphis

There are 340 security guards in Memphis who are employed by the same company that employed the gunman who terrorized a gay nightclub in Orlando, and a company spokesperson said multiple background checks raised no red flags.

FOX13 is investigating the company’s screening process, a system designed to ensure the 340 security guards in Memphis prioritize your safety.

Omar Mateen, the man who law enforcement officials killed after he terrorized Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, was trusted to keep others safe as a security guard for G4S Security Solutions. Daniel Gilroy claims to be a former coworker of Mateen’s at G4S. He told media Mateen was more interested in violence than safety.

“He told me he was going to do it,” Gilroy said. “Besides the date and location, he said he was going to kill a whole bunch of people.”

Despite the coworker’s predictions, G4S told FOX13 Mateen cleared multiple background checks during his nine years as a security guard.

FOX13 learned there are 340 security guards in Memphis who went through a similar screening process as Mateen.

In fact, the City of Memphis has a $145,000 contract with the Florida-based company, which also has an office in Southeast Memphis. According to documents on the City of Memphis website, the city hires the company for “security guard services” and “armed services.”

In a statement from Sarah Booth, Senior Vice President for G4S’ Marketing and Communications, provided the list of checks which Mateen passed and added that all G4S employees undergo a similar “stringent” screening process, which requires a psychological test, a criminal background check, credit, social security and driver’s license checks and more.

A city spokesperson said in an email that the guards are used at multiple locations in Memphis, adding that “As far as I know they’ve done a good job.”

The local G4S office in Southeast Memphis is lined with posters claiming to be the world’s leading security company. There’s also information in the front lobby about screening requirements for its employees, who are required to pass a background check by the State of Tennessee to become a licensed security guard.

Despite what the company calls a stringent background check, the screening process never raised a red flag about the man who Gilroy said was a ticking time bomb.

“He was an angry person, violent in nature and a bigot to almost every class of person,” Gilroy said.

Booth said G4S background checks are stringent, but added that access to FBI investigations of potential employees could help ensure people’s safety.

Mateen was investigated multiple times by the FBI, but Booth said G4S doesn’t have access to those records.

“While we understand the employment challenges surrounding the sharing of such information, we support, at a minimum, a clearing house or intermediary approach to sharing FBI information that protects the public but does not compromise ongoing investigations,” Booth said in a statement to FOX13.

Booth added that G4S is a founding member of the National Association of Security Companies and “remains at the forefront of driving higher standards within the security industry.”

Here’s the full statement from G4S Security Solutions:

Before any employee is hired at G4S, he or she must undergo an extensive background check. Mateen went through this background check process as well on 9/7/2007.

The elements covered as part of everyone's background investigation in September 2007 included the following, with Mateen's ratings in parenthesis:

  • Standard Background Criminal Records Check - 7 Years (completed)
  • Employment/Education Check - 7 Years (completed)
  • Security Office Profile - (September 6th 2007 - above average potential for success in position)
  • Social Security Check (confirmed)
  • Driver License Check (confirmed)
  • Work References: (three confirmed)
  • Drug Test (clean, negative in every category)
  • MMPI-2 (Above average rating, favorable recommendation, no clinical interview required)
  • Physical Fitness Exam (September 6th, 2007, normal)
  • Credit report (Followed federal credit reporting act guidelines, no issues)

An additional criminal records check was conducted on 10/2/2013. Additionally, criminal background and FBI checks would have been conducted by the State of Florida as part of his security license renewals. His licenses were renewed four times during his employment. We also ran motor vehicle checks in 2007, 2011, and 2015. His Driver’s License was valid until November 16, 2016. Security officer licenses were valid until September 14, 2017 - D license and September 13, 2017 - G license. He has had four renewals since employment.

G4S' screening processes are stringent. G4S is a founding member of NASCO (National Association of Security Companies), and remains at the forefront of driving higher standards within the security industry. We believe that the tragic events in Orlando highlight an important issue that NASCO has promoted for many years. Security companies do not have access to FBI information when conducting background checks for employees.  They have no way to validate whether a potential or current employee is on a terrorist watch list or is under active investigation. While we understand the employment challenges surrounding the sharing of such information, we support, at a minimum, a clearing house or intermediary approach to sharing FBI information that protects the public but does not compromise ongoing investigations.

We currently employ 352 employees in Memphis, 340 of which are security officers.

I hope that addresses your questions; please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Kind regards,

Sarah Booth

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications

G4S North America & Technology