Report: Wife tried to prevent attack
ORLANDO – The wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub over the weekend tried to talk him out of the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history, media reported on Tuesday, citing law enforcement sources.
Omar Mateen, who was shot dead by police after a three-hour standoff at the Pulse club early on Sunday, called 911 during his rampage to profess allegiance to various militant Islamist groups.
Federal investigators have said Mateen was likely self-radicalised and there was no evidence that he received any instruction or aid from outside groups such as Islamic State. Mateen, 29, was a U.S. citizen, born in New York of Afghan immigrant parents.
“He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalised,” President Barack Obama told reporters after a meeting of the National Security Council.
MSNBC reported, citing multiple unnamed sources, that Mateen’s current wife, identified by his family as Noor Mateen, told law enforcement officials that she drove him to multiple sites that he was considering attacking and was with him when he bought ammunition but she tried to talk him out of the attack.
Noor Mateen could not be reached for comment.
Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, told reporters outside his home on Tuesday that he had seen his 3 1/2-year-old grandson today, but he declined to give information about Noor Mateen’s whereabouts.
“We’ll wait for the law enforcement,” he said.
One official familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said investigators were only beginning to delve into the contents of Mateen’s cellphone and other electronic devices. The source said investigators believe Mateen browsed militant Islamic material on the internet for two years or more before the Orlando shootings.
Soon after the attack, Mateen’s father indicated that his son had harboured strong anti-gay feelings. He recounted an incident when his son became angry when he saw two men kissing in downtown Miami while out with his wife and son.
The Orlando killings came six months after the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino, California, by a married couple professing Islamist militant ideologies. (Reuters)