Orlando shooter’s wife went with him to buy ammunition, tried to talk him out of attack on gay nightclub
(Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News)
Noor Salman Mateen, the wife of the man who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in US history, reportedly told the FBI that she was with her husband when he went to buy ammunition and a holster for the attack on a gay Orlando nightclub.
She said that she had tried to talk him out of attacking the nightclub, Pulse, and that she had at one point driven there with him.
NBC News first reported the development on Tuesday, citing several law enforcement officials familiar with what Salman has told the FBI.
“It is a possibility that the wife of Orlando shooter, Noor Salman, could be charged in connection with the attack at Pulse nightclub” because she failed to tell police about her husband’s plans, NBC investigative reporter Tom Winter said.
Salman was reportedly living separately from her husband – with his father in Fort Pierce – when he carried out the massacre. It is unclear how long they have been married. They have a three-year-old son.
Salman deleted all of her social-media accounts shortly after the shooting occurred. She has not given interviews to the press, but is cooperating with the FBI.
The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, killed at least 49 people and wounded 53 others when he opened fire on Pulse at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. He was familiar with the club, as he had been going there at least once or twice a month for the last three years, performers and regulars at the club told media outlets on Monday. He also used several gay dating apps.
Mateen, a US citizen born in New York to two Afghan immigrants, was living in Fort Pierce, Florida, when he rented a car and drove to Orlando to carry out the attack on Sunday morning.
An FBI representative said Mateen “was organized and well prepared” for the attack, and the ATF confirmed that he was armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and a handgun that he had legally bought a few days before.
Mateen was a security guard and had a Florida firearms license that allowed him to carry concealed weapons. He called 911 during his rampage at Pulse and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, while also expressing sympathy for the Boston Marathon bombers and an American suicide bomber who died fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria.
He was investigated twice by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 for his suspected ties to terrorists, but the cases were closed when authorities concluded that Mateen did not pose a substantive national security threat.
ABC news reported that, the shooter legally purchased the guns he had on him within the past week, even though he had been known to law enforcement for years, federal officials confirmed.
News of the legal purchases comes as officials confirmed that Mateen had been interviewed three times by the FBI in the years leading up to the shooting because his name came up in connection to two different cases. Such information would not show up in a background check because both cases were closed.
Law enforcement sources confirmed that Mateen was on the FBI’s radar but not necessarily on a watch list. But even appearing on the list wouldn’t have necessarily prevented him from obtaining weapons.