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      Omar Mateen's Wife Could Face Charges in Connection With the Orlando Massacre

      Omar Mateen's Wife Could Face Charges in Connection With the Orlando Massacre Omar Mateen's Wife Could Face Charges in Connection With the Orlando Massacre Omar Mateen's Wife Could Face Charges in Connection With the Orlando Massacre
      Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

      Americas

      Omar Mateen's Wife Could Face Charges in Connection With the Orlando Massacre

      By VICE News and Reuters

      The wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub has come under increasing scrutiny by officials over whether she had knowledge of the attack beforehand. Reports indicate a federal grand jury has been convened to investigate possible wrongdoing, and there is a possibility that criminal charges will be brought against her.

      Reports have emerged over the last 24 hours indicating that Omar Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, was allegedly with her husband when he purchased bullets later used in the massacre and also took him to survey the Pulse nightclub to scope out what would eventually become the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

      Salman knew of Mateen's plans for the attack and could soon be charged in connection with the shooting, a law enforcement source told Reuters on Tuesday. The source said that a federal grand jury had been convened and could press charges as early as Wednesday.

      US Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which received a briefing on the attack, identified Salman as a person of interest in the investigation.

      "It appears she had some knowledge of what was going on," King said.

      "She definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be cooperating and can provide us with some important information," he told CNN.

      Salman was with Mateen when he cased out possible targets for an attack in the past two months, including the Disney World resort in April, then a shopping complex called Disney Springs and the Pulse nightclub in early June, CNN and NBC reported.

      Mateen, who was shot dead by police after a three-hour standoff at the Pulse club early on Sunday, called 911 during his shooting spree to profess allegiance to various militant Islamist groups.

      Federal investigators have said he was likely self-radicalized and there was no evidence that he received any instructions or aid from outside groups such as Islamic State. Mateen, 29, was a US citizen, born in New York to Afghan immigrant parents, and worked as a security guard.

      "He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized," President Barack Obama told reporters.

      Mateen was systematic during his rampage, working his way through the packed club shooting people who were already down. He apparently wanted to ensure they were dead, said Angel Colon, a wounded survivor.

      "I look over and he shoots the girl next to me and I was just there laying down and thinking: 'I'm next, I'm dead,'" he said.

      Mateen shot him twice more, one bullet apparently aimed for Colon's head striking his hand, and another hitting his hip, Colon said at Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he is one of 27 survivors being treated.

      Vigils for the dead continued on Tuesday in Orlando. Hundreds of students gathered to pray and sing in the evening at the University of Central Florida. They shone cellphone flashlights during a reading of the names of the dead including two alumni.

      Salman's mother, Ekbal Zahi Salman, lives in a middle-class neighborhood of the suburban town of Rodeo, California. A neighbor said Noor Salman only visited her mother once after she married Mateen.

      Noor Salman's mother "didn't like him very much. He didn't allow her (Noor) to come here," said neighbor Rajinder Chahal. He said he had spoken to Noor Salman's mother after the Orlando attack. "She was crying, weeping."

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      Topics: americas, orlando, pulse, nightclub, massacre, orlando shooter, omar mateen, noor salman, crime & drugs, angus king, senate intelligence committee, mass shooting, lgbt

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