Wife Of Orlando Nightclub Shooter Arrested On Federal Charges

Jan 17, 2017
Originally published on January 18, 2017 8:28 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, the widow of the killer behind the Orlando nightclub shooting is expected to appear in federal court today. The FBI arrested Noor Salman yesterday. She has been charged with aiding and abetting her husband by providing material support to a terrorist organization. Prosecutors say she also obstructed justice by misleading police and FBI agents when they questioned her about the attack. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang has more.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: It's been more than seven months since Noor Salman's husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured more than 50 at Pulse nightclub. He pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack before he was killed in a shootout with police. Afterwards, federal authorities and a grand jury started looking into Noor Salman. It was part of an ongoing investigation, as U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained on MSNBC.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LORETTA LYNCH: We said from the beginning we were going to look at every aspect of this case, of every aspect of the shooter's life to determine not just why did he take these actions but who else knew about them, was anyone else involved?

WANG: Salman's attorney Linda Moreno says her client did not have any fore knowledge of the Orlando shooting. Salman has claimed in an interview with The New York Times that her husband repeatedly beat her and verbally abused her, and her lawyer argues that she could not have predicted what her husband intended to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LINDA MORENO: Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it truly dishonors the memory of the victims to punish an innocent person.

WANG: FBI agents arrested Noor Salman on Monday morning at her home outside of San Francisco. She and Mateen got married in Northern California back in 2011 before they moved to Florida. They had a son together. He's now 4 years old, and they named him in part after Mateen. Last month, Salman filed a court petition to change her son's name which has become bound to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

With Mateen dead, no criminal charges had been filed in connection to the shooting until Salman's indictment. Orlando's police chief John Mina released a written statement about the charges. He said, quote, "there is some relief in knowing that someone will be held accountable for that horrific crime." Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.