New information has surfaced this week indicating that the wife of the gunman responsible for one of America’s deadliest mass shootings knew of his intentions before the 2016 massacre.
As the New York Post reported, Noor Salman was married to Omar Mateen when he staged an attack at an Orlando LGBT nightclub that left 49 dead and dozens more wounded. She pleaded not guilty last year to federal charges related to the shooting.
At the time, she claimed her husband abused her and denied she was aware of his plan to carry out the attack at the Pulse nightclub.
According to a 12-page handwritten note she provided to federal investigators, however, she reportedly confirmed her advanced knowledge of the deadly plot.
The statement was obtained by USA Today, which published portions of her apparent admission.
Salman reportedly wrote the letter following intense FBI interrogation in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, shortly after investigators identified her husband as the suspect. Her attorneys have argued that the evidence should not be admissible in court because she had not been advised of her Miranda rights.
According to her statement, she confirmed that her “fears had come true and that (Mateen) did what he said he was going to do.”
Though she admitted being aware of his intentions, Salman wrote that she did not want to believe he would go through with it.
“I was in denial and I could not believe that the father of my child was going to hurt other people,” she wrote.
Salman went on to offer chilling details about Mateen’s behavior as far back as two years before the June 12, 2016 shooting. She painted a picture of a man who had become increasingly infatuated with the concept of jihad as a way of expressing his disillusionment as well as an apparent desire for recognition.
Mateen had been visiting websites dedicated to terrorism with increasing frequency, she wrote, and he regularly watched beheading videos.
“He said if he did jihad everybody would know who he is,” Salman wrote.
As the date of the shooting drew nearer, she described even more suspicious activity. A few days before the attack, she wrote that he purchased a rifle that she found in the trunk of their car.
While he allegedly told her the gun was related to his job as a security guard, she claimed he covered it up and told her not to say “anything to anybody” about it.
Mateen also began stockpiling ammunition, she wrote, and visited the shooting range “a lot.” Again, she wrote that his excuse was that the behavior was related to his work.
When he named her as his beneficiary on financial documents, he reportedly said it was “in case something happened.”
At the same time, he was spending more and more of their money, Salman wrote.
In the days and hours leading up to the massacre, she described blatant indicators of his violent intent. The couple reportedly drove by a number of local landmarks — including Walt Disney World — before passing Pulse.
“How upset are people going to be when it gets attacked?” Mateen asked Salman, according to her statement.
A short time later, she reportedly saw him browsing the website for the club, which he described as his “target.”
At that point, Salman wrote, she “knew that the time to attack the club was close.”
On the day of the attack, she described Mateen as heavily armed and appearing “pumped up,” writing that she knew “when he left the house that he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub.”
Salman is set to stand trial in Orlando after a failed bid by her attorneys to move the venue from the home of the attack. She is charged with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a terrorist and could face life in prison if convicted.
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