Family of Orlando Shooter's Wife Says She Is 'Innocent' in Attack, Has Learning Disabilities

Illustration for article titled Family of Orlando Shooter's Wife Says She Is 'Innocent' in Attack, Has Learning Disabilities

The FBI is continuing to investigate the wife of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen to determine if she had any role in the attack. The family of Noor Salman issued a statement to ABC News, saying Salman, 30, is “completely innocent” and has dealt with learning disabilities that make her unable to understand “cause and effect.”


A report from CNN last week said that Mateen reportedly texted Salman during the attack at Pulse nightclub, asking if she’d seen him on the news. Salman apparently tried to call Mateen several times during the shooting. The L.A. Times, meanwhile, reported that Salman drove Mateen to Pulse at least once, drove him to purchase ammunition and “pleaded with him not to commit the shooting,” according to what she is believed to have told the FBI.

But ABC spoke to a woman who said she was Salman’s special education teacher in middle school, and who said she had difficulty with “conceptualizing” and “understanding:

“Noor had difficulty with retention, she had difficulty with conceptualizing, understanding, all challenges to her,” Susan said. “She tried hard. She was very sweet.”

Salman’s family confirmed she was enrolled in special education classes, adding that the woman, 30, doesn’t understand “cause and effect.”

“Noor is completely innocent and [was] unaware of the attacks,” the statement said, adding she doesn’t understand “cause and effect.” The family said Salman was enrolled in special education classes because she needed extra help in school.

The couple married in 2011 after meeting online and had a son, now 3. Salman is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and was reportedly married once before in an arranged marriage. Mateen was also previously married; his first wife has said he was abusive. Salman could potentially face aiding and abetting charges or even conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Screenshot via ABC

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.



If she knew what he was planning, she’s complicit. I have a learning disability. I didn’t know it absolved me of accessory to murder.