San Francisco, CA - The FBI has arrested Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, the man who shot and killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others in the Orlando Pulse nightclub terrorist attack.
According to The New York Times, she was taken into custody on Monday by FBI agents outside of the San Francisco home where she had been living with her young son. Noor Salman was arrested for Obstructing the Investigation and Aiding and Abetting by Providing Material Support.
After the nightclub shooting, which occurred on June 12, 2016, she was interviewed for hours by Investigators and it became obvious that she was lying when asked about her knowledge of her husband's plans.
Noor Salman, age 30, is scheduled to make her first appearance on Tuesday morning, in federal court in Oakland, California. The decision by the Justice Department to prosecute her ends part of the mystery that has surrounded her since the terrorist attack. In a statement issued by Noor Salman's attorney, she denies any knowledge of her husband's plans and claims that he abused her.
The Aiding and Abetting is a terrorism charge and suggests that prosecutors believe that Noor Salman helped her husband with the attack in some way, either before it occurred or after. In an interview last year with The New York Times, Noor Salman admitted that she and her child had gone with her husband to Orlando once prior to the attack, when he scouted the club, but she denies knowing the purpose of the trip. She has also claimed that on the day her husband drove to Orlando that she thought he was going to visit a friend named Nemo. Investigators later learned that Nemo did not live in Florida at the time, which Noor Salman denies knowing.
Noor Salman also said that she did not know what the ammunition that her husband purchased in the days before the attack was going to be used for. She said that she thought it was for his job as a security guard.
During the 2016 rampage, Omar Mateen posted on Facebook that his allegiance was to the Islamic state. However, federal investigators believe that Mateen, age 29, did not receive any specific training or support from the Islamic State. Instead, they have focused on whether anyone in the United States assisted in the attack. Mateen was shot and killed by police who responded to the shooting.
In a statement, Orlando Police Chief John W. Mina said "that he was glad to see" that Noor Salman had been arrested. He also said “Nothing can erase the pain we all feel about the senseless and brutal murders of 49 of our neighbors, friends, family members and loved ones. But today, there is some relief in knowing that someone will be held accountable for that horrific crime.”
Prosecutors have brought charges against people with ties to attackers in mass shooting in two previous incidents. One was the Charleston incident, where a friend of suspect Dylann Roof was charged with Lying to Federal Investigators and Misprision of a Felony, or Failing to Inform Authorities that a Felony had been Committed. Roof was sentenced to death last week in the 2015 attack in a Charleston, South Carolina church, where nine people were killed.
The second incident also occurred in 2015, in San Bernardino, where a neighbor and friend of the two shooters, married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, purchased the rifles used in the attack that killed 14 people and injured 22 people. That man was charged with lying on forms filled out in connection to the purchase of the rifles. He was not charged with having a direct role in the rampage.
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