Orlando shooting

Shooter's wife 'knew about his plan to attack gay nightclub'

Ms Noor Salman with Omar Mateen in a photo from her Facebook account which has now been deleted. She was with Omar when he surveyed possible targets in the past two months, CNN and NBC reported.
Ms Noor Salman with Omar Mateen in a photo from her Facebook account which has now been deleted. She was with Omar when he surveyed possible targets in the past two months, CNN and NBC reported.PHOTO: NOOR ZAHI SALMAN/FACEBOOK

Federal grand jury convened to study possible wrongdoing on her part, says law enforcement source

ORLANDO • The wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub could face criminal charges after a federal grand jury was convened to study possible wrongdoing by her, a law enforcement source said.

Omar Mateen's wife, Ms Noor Salman, knew of his plans for what became the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, said the law enforcement source, who has been briefed on the matter.

US Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which received a briefing on the investigation into Sunday's massacre, told CNN it appeared Ms Salman had "some knowledge" of what was going on.

"She definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be cooperating and can provide us with some important information," Mr King said.

Ms Salman was with Omar when he surveyed possible targets in the past two months, including the Disney World resort in April, a shopping complex called Disney Springs and the Pulse nightclub early this month, CNN and NBC reported.

PERSON OF INTEREST

She definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be cooperating and can provide us with some important information.

U.S. SENATOR ANGUS KING, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Omar Mateen's wife, Ms Noor Salman.

Theme parks in Orlando like Disney's Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando have increased vigilance in the light of the perceived threat. Disney has also donated US$1 million (S$1.35 million) to a fund established to help victims of the shooting, reported Vanity Fair.

Ms Salman's mother, Mrs Ekbal Zahi Salman, lives in a middle-class neighbourhood in Rodeo, California, about 40km north of San Francisco.

A neighbour said Ms Salman visited her mother only once after she married Omar.

Ms Salman's mother "didn't like him very much. He didn't allow her (Noor) to come here", said neighbour Rajinder Chahal. He said he had spoken to Ms Salman's mother after the Orlando attack and she "was crying, weeping".

Omar, who was shot dead by police Swat team members after a three-hour stand-off, called 911 during his rampage to profess allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"We could hear him talking to 911 saying that the reason why he's doing this is that he wants America to stop bombing his country," said Ms Patience Carter, 20, who was trapped in a bathroom stall at the nightclub as Omar prowled outside.

US officials were investigating media reports that Omar may have been gay but not openly so, and questioning whether that could have driven his attack, according to two people who have been briefed on the investigation and requested anonymity to discuss it.

Ms Barbara Poma, the owner of the Pulse nightclub, speaking through a representative, denied reports that Omar had been a regular patron.

"Untrue and totally ridiculous," spokesman Sara Brady said in an e-mail when asked about the claim.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2016, with the headline 'Shooter's wife 'knew about his plan to attack gay nightclub''. Print Edition | Subscribe