Greg Allen

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Two and a half years before he killed 49 people in a June 12 shooting attack at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, Omar Mateen told investigators he'd been teased and verbally abused by co-workers for being Muslim. That abuse, he said, led him to claim ties to mass killers and terrorist groups, connections he later told the FBI he'd made up. The FBI concluded Mateen was not a threat.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are going to political battlegrounds to ask people in key populations what they want from this presidential election.

With a population of more than 20 million, Florida is the country's largest swing state. And its population is changing — thanks to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's stagnant economy has brought tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to Florida each year over the last decade. Large numbers have settled in the area near Orlando.

The Triple S Mart in Baton Rouge has become a shrine and a gathering place for activists. It's where Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police officers just over a week ago.

Standing in front of a large mural of Sterling at the convenience store, his son, 15-year-old Cameron Sterling said he hoped his father's death would help bring people in the city together.

"My father was a good man," Cameron said. "That was a sacrifice to show everybody what was going on."

About a hundred miles north of Miami on the Atlantic Coast, the town of Stuart is a picturesque waterfront community — with homes, restaurants and parks overlooking the St. Lucie Estuary. But in many areas now, when you approach the water, the first thing you notice is the smell.

"There's no way to describe it," says John Skinner, a boat salesman in Stuart.

But he still tries. "I would say hundreds of dead animals that have been baking in the sun for weeks."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The last few years have been rocky ones for SeaWorld. While other theme parks have prospered, SeaWorld's parks have seen attendance declines — in part because of public concerns about captive killer whales raised by the documentary Blackfish.

In March, SeaWorld agreed to end theatrical orca shows and its captive breeding program. Their Florida location is now adding new attractions and is hoping to lure visitors back with the area's tallest and fastest roller coaster.

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