Orlando Mass Shooter, Wife Sent Text Messages to Each Other During Massacre
The Orlando mass shooter was apparently exchanging text messages with his wife during the terroristic rampage that left 49 people dead on Sunday morning.
Omar Mateen, 29, apparently texted his wife, Noor Salman: “Do you see what’s happening?” Mateen was later killed in a gun battle with police.
A source close to Salman told NBC News that Mateen’s mother called Salman at around 2 a.m. on Sunday. She woke her up and asked if she knew where her husband was.
Salman then texted her husband, asking him: “Where are you?” according to the report. Mateen responded with, “Do you see what’s happening?” Salman replied with, “No?”
“I love you, babe,” Mateen then told her.
A law enforcement official said Salman and Mateen sent text messages to each other at 2:30 a.m., but she also tried to call him on his phone. Salman was told about the shooting at 4 a.m., the NBC report said.
Mateen was also active on social media before and during the shooting, an official familiar with the investigation told CBS News. He posted on Facebook about his “Alliance to [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.” After the shooting took place, Mateen paused and searched for “Pulse Orlando” and “shooting.” Later, he made calls to 911 and a television station.
He called News 13 in Orlando to say he was carrying out the massacre on behalf of ISIS. “I’m the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter,” Mateen said, according to producer Matthew Gentili. “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.”
Salman is cooperating with an investigation and said she would take a polygraph test, the source close to the family told NBC.
A U.S. attorney is planning to bring evidence before a federal grand jury to determine whether charges will be brought against Salman, two law enforcement officials told CNN. It’s unclear how long that will take.
One of the officials said Salman told investigators on Saturday that she tried talking Mateen out of committing violence but didn’t call police.
Salman and Mateen have been married since 2011, and they have a 3-year-old son.
Investigators are also investigating other family members, including Mateen’s father, to determine what they knew, CBS said.
On June 15, the FBI sent out an alert, with Ron Hopper, assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau’s Tampa Field Office, asking the public for help “in developing a picture of what the shooter did and why he did it.”