A handwritten statement given to the FBI by the wife of Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen says she saw him prepare for the deadly attack for months and knew that the LGBT nightclub was his target.
She told agents multiple times she knew his plans and that he was going to attack the Orlando club when he left their home.
She told agents she knew “my fears had come true and he did what he said he was going to do. I was in denial and I could not believe that the father of my child was going to hurt other people.”
“He said if he did jihad everybody would know who he is,” Salman wrote in the statement.
She wrote that Mateen bought a rifle about four days before the attack. She saw it in the trunk of his car and asked him about it. He told her not to say “anything to anybody,” covered it up then said it was for his security guard job.
Days ahead of the attack, Mateen bought ammunition and went to the shooting range “a lot,” Salman wrote. He told her it was for work. He also spent a large amount of money and made Salman a beneficiary on his bank accounts, telling her it was “in case something happened,” she wrote in the statement.
In the statement, Salman described driving slowly by several destinations, including Disney World and Pulse nightclub, before the shooting. He asked Salman when driving by Pulse, “How upset are people going to be when it gets attacked?” the statement said.
Two days before the shooting, Salman saw Mateen looking at the website for the club. When she saw what he was doing, he said, “this is my target,” the statement reads.
Salman told FBI agents, “I knew that the time to attack the club was close.”
Salman’s attorneys have been fighting against the use of the statement in court, claiming that she was in custody and had not been read her Miranda rights, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Prosecutors have said she was not under arrest and that all of her statements were voluntary, though she told agents several stories before writing the statement, which included an apology for lying to the FBI.
Federal prosecutors say Mateen was casing potential targets. It’s unclear why he chose Pulse.
The night before the attack, he left the house and looked “pumped up,” she wrote in the statement, adding he told her, “This is the one day.”
He had a handgun in a holster around his waist and put on a backpack that had ammunition inside, she wrote, adding she knew “this was the time that he was going to do something bad.”
“I knew when he left the house he was going to Orlando to attack the Pulse nightclub,” she wrote.
The 12-page statement, quietly released by federal authorities at the end of December in a batch of records in the case, was taken hours after the June 12, 2016 shooting. The attack left 49 dead and dozens of others injured. Noor Salman was questioned for hours, without a lawyer, after authorities learned her husband was the gunman behind the attack.
She was arrested last year on federal charges of providing material support to a terrorist and tampering with evidence but has pleaded not guilty, claiming she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She said Mateen abused her and claims she did not know of his plot.
But her defense conflicts with the signed statement she gave to the FBI, which details her knowledge of Mateen’s planning and his path to carry out an attack on behalf of the Islamic State.
The statement includes that during a two-year span before the attack. Mateen would browse jihad websites almost every day and frequently watch beheading videos. He was angry and frustrated about treatment of Muslims in the Middle East and talked about retaliating against Americans.