Noor Salman, 30, of Fort Pierce, Florida, told The New York Times in an interview, “I just want people to know that I am human. I am a mother.”
Although she became a person of interest following the June 11 carnage, Salman maintains she had no clue of her husband’s plans to spray the Orlando gay club with bullets, an action that left 49 people dead and dozens more wounded.
She was questioned by the FBI for hours after the attack, and it’s not yet known whether charges will be filed against her since the case is ongoing, but she told the Times, “I was unaware of anything.”
Domestic violence specialist Jacquelyn Campbell, who evaluated Salman’s case, supported Salman’s claim of ignorance. She told the Times that, because Salman was being physically abused by Omar Mateen, 29, it would have been impossible for Salman to have picked up clues of his radicalization.
In fact, Salman said their relationship turned violent about six months after their wedding, while Salman was pregnant with their son.
According to the newspaper, Salman was beaten, and when she threatened to leave, he warned her she would lose custody of their son.
But leading up to the attack, Salman said, their relationship had improved, and the family even took trips to Orlando’s Disneyland together — during which, she now suspects, he may have been inspecting Pulse.
On the night of the shooting, Salman said, she was at home with their 3-year-old son. Mateen had told them he would visit a friend that night, and would not be home for dinner, despite Salman asking him to stay.
At about 4 a.m. she received a text message that read: “Did you see what happened?”
When Salman responded she had not, he replied: “I love you babe.”
It appears the text exchange with his wife is one of many phone interactions Mateen had during the three-hour hostage situation following the 2 a.m. shooting, during which he also placed a 911 phone call.
Mateen was later killed by police, ending the standoff.
Salman is still coming to grips with the crimes of her husband, asking, “How can someone be capable of that?”
Mateen’s ex-wife has also claimed he beat her during their relationship, says “Inside Edition.”
Sitora Yusufiy came forward the day after the shooting in an anonymous interview with The Washington Post before revealing her identity later that same day to reporters outside her Colorado home.
“He was not a stable person,” Yusufiy told the Post. “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”