ORLANDO, Florida. – The man who shot and killed 49 people in a gay nightclub, exchanged text messages with his wife during the attack, according to evidence presented to a jury Wednesday.
Noor Salman, the wife of the Pulse shooter, Omar Mateen, is on trial in federal court of aiding and abetting her husband, and with obstruction of justice for lying to federal agents. If convicted, she could life in prison.
Mateen was shot and killed by police after the June 2016 attack.
At 4:27 pm, during a confrontation with the police more than two hours after Mateen first opened fire in the Orlando night club, Salman sms Mateen, twice the questions, “where are you?” The exchange happened about the local authorities, she was awakened by a phone call, asking her to leave their apartment. The couple lived about two hours south of Orlando with their child.
“Everything ok?” Mateen replied.
The Orlando Sentinel reported from the court that Salman responded, reminding her husband that he had to work the next day. His mother was “worried, and so am I,” she wrote. Mateen replied, “You heard what happened”.
“????” Salman replied. “What happened?!” If Salman sms, Mateen’s mother called him twice. He gave no answer. “Omar please give me a call … I’m so scared,” she said in a voicemail. “Call me.”
By the time that he and Salman were trading texts, as members of the jury saw earlier in the process, Mateen had already shot club-goers in a Pulse with an AR-15-style rifle, the trace of a methodical and bloody path as injured clients fled, hid and called for help.
“I love you “babe”,” Mateen wrote in his last text message at 4:29 pm
“Habibi, what happened?!” Salman wrote, using an Arabic term of endearment. “Your mother said that she thought:” come over and you never did.”
Jurors on Wednesday also saw the evidence of Mateen the online activity prior to the attack. The prosecutors were looking on his smartphone for the Islamic State group, violence in the Middle East, other acts of terrorism, and guns.
In talks with an Orlando police hostage negotiator, Mateen would later claim that his attack on June 12, 2016 attack at the Pulse nightclub was “triggered” by the May 6 death of Abu Waheeb, leader of the Islamic State in Iraq.
However, under questioning by Salman’s defense, FBI agent Kim Rosecrans said Mateen internet visit also included dating sites and a link about masturbation. For these data, lawyer Charles Swift said, “do not suggest Mateen was sharing his phone a lot with his wife.”
The prosecutors hope to rest their case by Thursday morning. Her defense plans to call eight to 10 witnesses, and then the case will go to the jury.