#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 14°C Saturday 16 October 2021

Orlando shooter's wife 'tried to talk him out of violence but did not call police' say reports

Omar Mateen also spoke of the “filthy ways of the west”.

Nightclub Shooting Victims The victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Source: Apexchange

ORLANDO GUNMAN OMAR Mateen apparently made a series of Facebook posts and searches before and during his attack on a gay nightclub, raging against the “filthy ways of the west” and blaming the U.S. for the deaths of “innocent women and children,” according to a Senate committee letter released last night.

The killer whose rampage left 49 people dead also searched for “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting” online on the morning of the carnage Sunday and said on Facebook: “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state,” according to the letter.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee sent the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking the company to produce information on Mateen’s online activity and to provide a briefing to the panel.

The letter illuminating Mateen’s state of mind in the final hours of his life was released as the long, sad procession of memorials and funerals for the victims began in Orlando and as the FBI appealed for the public’s help in reconstructing the killer’s movements. The FBI is also trying to establish how much Mateen’s wife may have known about the attack at Pulse dance club.

“We need your help in developing the most complete picture of what he did and why he did it,” FBI agent Ron Hopper said at a news conference.

Jennifer Johnson, Jeansem Sambolin, Tyrone Clarke Jennifer Johnson, right, leans on her boyfriend Jeansem Sambolin while standing with her son Tyrone Clarke, 8, as they visit a makeshift memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub. Source: AP Photo/David Goldman

In its letter, the committee said staffers have learned that five Facebook accounts were associated with the 29-year-old American-born Muslim.

“The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west,” Mateen wrote, according to the letter from committee chairman Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican. Johnson did not say how he learned of the posts other than to cite “information obtained by my staff.”

As he did in his call to a 911 operator during the massacre, Mateen pledged his allegiance on Facebook to the leader of the Islamic State and, in his final post, warned: “in the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa.”

A person familiar with the situation who is not authorised to speak publicly, said the posts came moments before the attack began.

Despite his professed loyalty to the extremist group, the Obama administration has said it has seen no evidence that the shooting rampage was directed by the Islamic State.


Nightclub Shooting Florida Adriana Kelley, right, kisses Tiffany Findley, both of Orlando, as they stand with supporters outside the visitation for Pulse nightclub shooting victim Javier Jorge-Reyes. Source: David Goldman

On Saturday night, hours before the rampage, Mateen visited Disney Springs, an outdoor restaurant, retail and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, an official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss the continuing investigation told The Associated Press.

The official said it is not clear what Mateen was up to.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

A key topic for investigators is how much Mateen’s Palestinian-American wife may have known about the plot.

An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe 30-year-old US-born Noor Salman knew ahead of time about the attack.

Investigators have spoken extensively with her and are working to establish whether she recently accompanied Mateen to the club, said a second official who was not authorised to discuss the case publicly. Some reports say that she pleaded with him not to commit any violence on the night of the attack, but she did not know the specifics nor did she alert the police.

Nightclub Shooting Florida The names of victims from the Pulse nightclub shooting are stitched into an American flag. Source: David Goldman

US media outlets, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that Mateen’s wife Noor, who is 30, may have had prior knowledge of her husband’s plan and could face criminal charges.

CNN said that federal prosecutors planned to present evidence to a grand jury, including that she accompanied Mateen to the gun store and the club on what may have been a mission to plan the attack.

The woman claims she tried to talk her husband out of the attack and did not know of a specific plot, CNN said, citing unnamed law enforcement officials.

With AFP reporting

Read: Trump wants to talk about banning gun sales to people on the ‘no fly list’

Read: Enda’s off to Britain to ask them to stay in the EU

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next: