Orlando Shooter’s Wife Knew About Attack, Could Face Charges

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Orlando gunman Omar Mateen’s wife feared he would do something drastic and violent when he left their home on Saturday night, but he assured her he was just going to meet his friends. Authorities are now investigating how much 30-year old Noor Zahi Salman actually knew about her husband’s plans to attack the gay nightclub Pulse. Whether she will face any criminal charges is still unclear.

Both “Scoped Out” Orlando Locations

According to recent reports, Mateen had his wife drive him to Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier in June to “scope it out.” They lived two hours away, in Port St. Lucie. They also looked into other locations, such as Disney World and the shopping complex Disney Springs. Salman was also with Mateen when he bought ammunition and a holster. Investigators said it’s unclear whether she knew of his eventual intentions at the time, though an anonymous law enforcement source told Reuters that she did. She could face criminal charges as early as Wednesday.

Responding to speculation over whether or not Mateen was secretly gay, his father Seddique Mateen said that his son’s marriage was good and that if he were gay his wife of three and a half years would have known about it. He also said that Mateen was really upset when he once saw two men kissing. However, regulars at Pulse nightclub said Mateen came there frequently to meet men.

Mateen was married twice, and his ex-wife described their five-month marriage in 2009 as violent and abusive, calling him bipolar and emotionally disturbed. He would beat her, pull her hair, and keep her from seeing her family. She also told TIME that he had some behaviors that “most straight men don’t”, such as spending a long time in front of the mirror and “little movements with his body.”

A Complicated Picture

The motive for the shootings is still unclear. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS when he called 911 during the attack at Pulse, but according to authorities he was self-radicalized over the Internet and there are no signs of a connection to the organization. Opinions about his personal life differ, with his father calling him homophobic, and his ex-wife thought he wasn’t “totally straight.” Neighbors described him as a completely normal man, while gay men he met at Pulse said he was “strange.”

The mass shooting in Orlando is the largest in US history and killed 49 people and leaving 53 injured. Even though FBI investigated the shooter in 2013 and 2014, he was legally able to buy weapons and ammunition. He was killed after a three-hour standoff with police.

Read Law Street’s original post about the Pulse attack here.


Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



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