Orlando gunman reportedly told wife of interest in terror attack

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen with his wife Noor Salman and their son. (Facebook photo via AP)

(CNN) — The wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mir Seddique Mateen told the FBI that her husband said he wanted to carry out a jihadist attack, though she denied knowledge of his plans to launch the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, a law enforcement official told CNN on Tuesday.

FBI investigators don’t believe Noor Salman was a co-conspirator in the attack that killed 49 people Sunday morning at Pulse nightclub, the source said. Salman told FBI agents she tried to dissuade Mateen from doing anything violent, the source said.

A separate source told CNN that Salman had some prior knowledge of her husband’s intention to launch an attack.

The development comes as investigators try to understand what prompted to Mateen to carry out the devastating attack. Forty-nine people were killed early Sunday and 53 people were wounded. Officials said that 28 victims are still hospitalized, including at least four people who are in critical condition.

Justice Department prosecutors and FBI investigators are reviewing Noor Salman’s account and other evidence to determine whether to bring charges against her for allegedly failing to report her knowledge of his general plans to carry out some kind of attack.

Such charges could include misprision, a deliberate concealment of knowledge of a pending crime.

When he left their home Saturday, hours before the mass shooting, Mateen lied about where he was going, she told federal investigators.

At a press conference today, survivors told what they experienced that horrible night at the Pulse.

“He’s shooting everyone that’s already dead on the floor, making sure they’re dead,” said Angel Colon. “I look over and he shoots the girl next to me. And I’m just there, laying down. I’m thinking, I’m next, I’m dead. So I don’t know how, but by the glory of God, he shoots towards my head but it hits my hand.”

Patience Carter revealed what the gunman said to her when he entered the club’s bathroom.

“He said ‘are there any black people in here?’ I was too afraid to answer, but there was an African-American male in the stall where the majority of my body was, and he said yes, there are about six or seven of us. And the gunman responded back to him, saying that ‘I don’t have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough.’

“He said that the reason why he was doing it is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country. So the motive is very clear to us who are laying in our own blood and other people’s blood who were injured, who were shot that we knew what his motive was and he wasn’t going to stop killing people until he was killed,” Carter said.

New evidence has emerged that suggests the shooter may have considered other targets. Officials are tracking Mateen’s whereabouts in the weeks and months leading up to the the attack.

Investigators say cell phone tower data indicates Mateen spent several hours at Disney Springs, a shopping and entertainment complex, on Saturday, just before the attack at the nightclub early Sunday morning.

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen with his wife Noor Salman and their son. (Facebook photo)
Orlando gunman Omar Mateen with his wife Noor Salman and their son. (Facebook photo)

CNN has learned that Mateen also visited Disney Springs and the Pulse nightclub from June 1-6, coinciding with gay pride celebrations taking place at Disney World and other locations in Orlando.

Disney security officials told the FBI they believe the shooter was scouting the Disney World park when Mateen visited there with his wife in April.

At Mateen’s home, the FBI seized documents, a Dell laptop, a smartphone and a digital camera. Analysis of his electronic devices shows searches for jihadist propaganda including videos of ISIS beheadings and information about Anwar Al Awlaki, the radical American cleric that joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula and was killed in an American drone strike.

The phone belonging to the gunman was recovered at Pulse nightclub, but the FBI delayed accessing it because of biohazard. It was covered in blood.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s