Is this a fair sentence for the wife of Orlando terrorist, Omar Mateen, or is it not harsh enough? Give us your thoughts below.
Mass murderer Omar Mateen texted with his wife while shooting dead his helpless victims inside an Orlando gay club early Sunday.
Noor Salman, 30, called her husband a little after 2am when his mother contacted her and said she was concerned about his whereabouts, a law enforcement official working on the investigation told CNN.
Mateen, who was just starting his brutal massacre at that time, did not answer, so at 2.30am Salman texted: ‘Where are you?’
At that point Mateen responded, telling his wife: ‘Do you see what’s happening?’
When she replied back to that by texting ‘no’ he wrote: ‘I love you babe.’
There were no text messages exchanged between the two after that, though Salman did call her husband again a few hours later during his standoff with police. He did not answer his phone.
Investigators on the case are not revealing if Salman called authorities or 911 at any point during the shooting to identify her husband as the gunman, and the answer to that question could go a long way in explaining just how much she knew about the attack.
The FBI and federal prosecutors meanwhile are planning to bring evidence about Salman’s role in the shooting in front of a grand jury to get her indicted on at least two criminal charges for her role in the attack – which could possibly include multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for each of her husband’s victims.
An FBI source told Fox News that a panel has already been put together to target Salman, who could be facing any possible number of charges.
That source also stated that Salman could ultimately be charged with 49 counts of murder and 53 counts of attempted murder for her role in the shooting, which the FBI has declared was both a terrorist attack and a hate crime.
If investigators find proof that she scouted out Pulse nightclub or went to purchase ammunition or firearms with her husband knowing about his plans, then under federal law she would be just as guilty of her husband’s crimes.
Investigators have reportedly obtained surveillance footage showing Salman buying ammunition with Mateen days before the attack.
There are also reports claiming she told law enforcement that she drove her husband to Walt Disney World and Pulse nightclub to scout out locations.
It is unclear though just how much she may have known about her husband’s plans, with the FBI and investigators on the case keeping quiet when it comes to that question.
John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said that other possible charges Salman could face include aiding and abetting, being a co-conspirator, or making false statements to federal investigators.
Despite initially resisting questions, law enforcement said Salman is now fully cooperating with the investigation.
She was seen on Monday returning briefly to the apartment in Fort Pierce, Florida, that she shared with Mateen and their three-year-old son, before getting back in a police car to continue questioning.
Salman has not commented publicly since the attack, which began around 2am early Sunday.
‘I can assure you that we’re working with our law enforcement partners to find out everything that we can about what happened at the Pulse nightclub,’ Lee Bentley, the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s middle district said on Wednesday.