Thursday June 16, 2016 – Federal investigators digging for clues in the Orlando nightclub massacre are zeroing in on Noor Salman, the widow of gunman Omar Mateen.
What did Salman know of his plans and what might she have done to stop him? Authorities have been trying to pin her down after she apparently gave conflicting statements about what she knew of his intentions in the hours before the attack.
A U.S. attorney plans to bring evidence before a federal grand jury to determine whether charges will be brought, according to two law enforcement officials.
The process could take some time, as investigators need to finish collecting evidence and establish a timeline for Mateen’s activities leading to Sunday’s attack at the gay club Pulse, in which 49 people were killed, the officials said.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are set to visit the city on Thursday.
Salman, Mateen’s second wife, has been cooperating with various law enforcement agencies. Salman told investigators that Mateen told her he had interest in carrying out a jihadist attack — but she denied knowing of any specific plans, according to two law enforcement officials.
She initially denied that when Mateen left the house Saturday that she had any idea he was going to do something violent.
But in subsequent statements, Salman conceded she had a suspicion he might be planning an attack, perhaps on Pulse, the officials said.
According to one official, she knew “for a while” Mateen had thoughts of wanting to do something violent. He had been talking about it for months, if not years.
According to the second official, Salman told investigators that on Saturday she said she tried to tell him not to commit violence. But she didn’t call police.
Mateen and Salman had been married since 2011. They have a 3-year-old son and lived in Fort Pierce, about two hours from where the massacre — the deadliest shooting in U.S. history — occurred.
Additionally, it appears that Mateen used Facebook before and during the attack, according to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.
In a letter to Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking for the company’s assistance in the investigation, Johnson said that Mateen used the social networking platform to “search for and post terrorism-related content.”
Mateen’s messages include declaring his allegiance to ISIS and calls for the U.S. and Russia to stop bombing the terror group, according to the letter.
One message reportedly said “now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”
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