Omar Mateen’s wife told FBI agents she knew her husband was going to attack the Pulse nightclub after he spoke about jihad, visited a shooting range, and scouted his target in the months leading up to the mass shooting, according to a handwritten statement.
Hours after Mateen was shot dead by police inside the Orlando nightclub where he killed 49 people on June 12, 2016, Noor Salman wrote the 12-page statement while she was questioned without a lawyer.
“I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub,” Salman said in the released statement obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Salman, who was charged with aiding her husband and providing support to a foreign terrorist organization along with obstructing justice last year, has pleaded not guilty.
Her lawyers are fighting the use of the statement during her trial on the grounds that she was not read her Miranda rights while she was in custody.
About one week before shooting, Salman said she and her husband drove around City Place and Pulse nightclub with the windows down. On both occasions, Mateen made comments about the public response to a club being attacked.
When she caught him looking at the Pulse nightclub website, he told her, “This is my target,” Salman recounted.
(Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
They also visited Disney, during which Mateen reportedly said, “What would make people more upset? An attack on Downtown Disney or a club?”
When she caught him looking at the Pulse nightclub website, he told her, “This is my target,” Salman recounted. She said, “I knew that the time to attack the club was close.”
Mateen also went to a shooting range “a lot” and spent a significant amount of money on clothes and gifts for her and her son in the days leading up to the shooting, Salman said. He also bought a rifle and ammunition.
Mateen, who watched beheading videos and visited extremist websites for two years and vocalized his anger regarding the treatment of Muslims in the Middle East, said “if he did jihad everybody would know who he is,” according to Salman.
Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters after the mass shooting.
When he ramped up his spending and started buying more firearms, she understood his behavior as “green light…to do an act of violence.”
On the day of the mass shooting, Mateen said, “This is the one day,” before he left the house with a handgun and a backpack full of ammunition, Salman said.
“I knew later, when I could not get ahold of him that my fears had come true and he did what he said he was going to do,” she wrote.
“I was in denial and I could not believe that the father of my child was goign to hurt other people. When I got a text message from Omar at 4 a.m. I knew that he did what he said he was going to do,” Salman’s wrote.