2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Noor Salman Held Until Charges Filed

The 2016 nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida was considered one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States, killing 49 and wounding 53, in an act committed by Omar Mateen who was shot and killed by officers after a three-hour standoff.

Not only was the 2016 Orlando Nightclub shooting considered one of the worst of its kind, but also said to be one of the deadliest terrorist attacks since those on the World Trade Center on September 11.

The tragedy also set off a combative debate within various social circles on issues that were quickly politicized among conservatives as radical Islamic terrorism, and the LGBT and Latino communities in and outside Orlando, Florida over the shooting as a hate-crime.

Orlando, Florida police officer at 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting site. [Image by David Goldman/AP Images]

The New York Times initially covered the aftermath of the 2016 Orlando nightclub (Pulse) shooting, reporting that Omar Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman, was arrested by the FBI on January 16, in San Franciso, California, thousands of miles away from where she and Mateen lived in Orlando, Florida.

The report detailed her initial charges at the time.

“…charged her with obstructing the investigation of the mass shooting, law enforcement officials said…”

The New York Times also interviewed Salman in November of 2016, several months after the nightclub shooting that June for which she claimed she was not aware of Mateen’s intentions. In the interview, she said that he was quick to anger and would beat her often.

“I was unaware of everything. I don’t condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.”

The article goes on to describe the extent of the Omar Mateen’s abuse, punching Noor when she was pregnant and calling her “shar” when he would get upset, a shortened version of a derogatory term that means “slut” or “whore” in Arabic.

Three different versions of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, similar to those used in 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. [Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]

At the time since the Orlando shooting, she had already moved away from Florida three times, avoiding news reports about the Pulse nightclub shooting and any updates on Mateen while authorities were trying to figure out how they should charge her.

Despite her claims, the authorities did not believe her.

The article by The Times points to two incidents such as when Mateen took her and his son to Disney World in Orlando which authorities suggest he did to scope the area before an attack, or when she would go with him to Walmart to buy ammunition, something she said was not unusual as he was a security guard and it was cheaper to buy there.

The article also pointed to a professor at Georgia State University, Mia Bloom, who studies the role that women and children play in terrorist groups and explained why she was skeptical about Noor’s claims, saying how the shooter’s widow could have prevented the nightclub tragedy.

“It’s possible she didn’t know because he was not confiding in her, but she does have every incentive in the world to retell this story as a different kind of victim.”

It’s often noted in cases of domestic violence and abuse cases that women will often stay quiet out of fear, which Bloom acknowledged in her statement about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“I am not trying to minimize the experience she had in a domestic abusive relationship, but it doesn’t give her a free pass as a bystander to not come forward.”

Bloom’s reasoning for this comes from a study which was presented as part of the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting in 2012 and published by the Journal of Forensic Sciences via the Wiley Online Library. The study concluded that the shooter’s motives were hardly hidden from close family and friends in 119 lone-actor incidences, even when the suspect was emotionally isolated.

One of the similarities with Noor and Omar in the context of this study is that she knew of his propensity towards violence. It’s also been widely reported that the shooter texted her during the nightclub shooting to ask if she had seen what he had done.

In an article by CNN, the widow said that her husband “wanted” to carry out a jihadist attack. It also says that before the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, she grabbed him and pleaded as he was trying to leave with a bag of guns.

On Thursday, an Orlando, Florida judge agreed with prosecutors to hold Salman in jail until she was tried on charges a day after a California judge ordered that she be released pending trial. Were she to be released, she would be ordered to wear an ankle monitor and live with her uncle in California.

But prosecutors say that in the context of the severity of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting that she has yet to prove that she is not a danger to the public and poses a flight risk, as they say that Noor and her family own vacant apartments in “Palestine.”

[Featured Image by Chris O’Meara/AP Images]

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