The wife of the Pulse nightclub shooter allegedly knew about the attack before it happened and apologized for not alerting authorities beforehand, according to a recently released statement she wrote to the FBI.
In her 12-page statement dated June 12, 2016, Noor Salman said that her husband, Omar Mateen, looked at jihadist websites “almost every day,” starting about two years before the attack, and that they had driven around Orlando scoping out places.
Pulse Night Club shooter's widow knew about attack in FBI statement that lawyers claim aren't true https://t.co/EVaSpLxgw8
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) January 6, 2018
She said they went to Downtown Disney, now called Disney Springs, and City Place in Palm Beach, as well as the Pulse nightclub.
Mateen wondered aloud in front of her, “where would the next attack [terrorist] make a big splash?’” she said.
When she caught him looking at the Pulse nightclub website, he told her, “This is my target,” Salman recounted.
He bought a rifle about four days before the attack and placed it in the trunk of his car, telling Salman that he bought it for work, she said. He worked as a security guard for the private security firm G4S.
Mateen was armed with two guns when he attacked the nightclub on June 12, 2016: a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and a .223-caliber assault rifle.
He killed 49 people and injured dozens more before Orlando police fatally shot him.
She also said that in the days and weeks leading up to the attack, he bought her a ring for $7,000, clothes from Victoria Secret, and toys for their son.
Also before the attack, Mateen made Salman a beneficiary on his bank account “in case something happened to him,” she wrote, and withdrew $1,000 that he gave to her.
When he left the house with a black backpack full of ammunition and his handgun tucked into a holster under his clothes, she knew he was not going to see his friend “Nemo,” as he had told her.
“I knew later, when I could not get ahold of him, that my fears had come true,” Salman wrote.
“I was in denial,” she continued, “I could not believe that the father of my child was going to hurt other people.”
“I wish I could have done the right thing, but my fear and reality was holding me back.”
The statement was released last month as part of the case against her. She faces charges of aiding and abetting by providing material support to a terrorist, and obstruction of justice.
Her lawyers are trying to get the statement thrown out, arguing that she was not read her Miranda rights before she gave it, and that she didn’t have a lawyer present at the time.
U.S. attorneys have argued that she was not detained, was free to leave, and that she gave her statement willingly.
The judge in the case has agreed to let Miami psychologist Bruce Frankin, who specializes in false and coerced confessions, testify. His testimony was requested by Salman’s attorneys.
Salman’s trial is set for March in Orlando.
She has pleaded not guilty, and if convicted, could face life in prison.