(ORLANDO) — Noor Mateen, the 30-year-old wife of Omar Mateen, the shooter at the Orlando gay club massacre, is being considered for possible criminal charges, officials say. A law enforcement official told ABC News that she may have known something about the incident in advance but claims she tried to talk him out of the assault.
News of the potential involvement of Mateen’s wife comes just moments after doctors at Orlando Health, a hospital where first-responders brought victims of the shooting, warned that the death toll may rise in the wake of the shooting.
A press conference was held Tuesday morning at the hospital to provide updates about the status of survivors of the attack. Dr. Michael Cheatham informed the press that of the 44 patients that were brought to his hospital, 27 were still being treated. Of those 27, six patients were “critically ill.”
Cheatham said that he would be surprised if the death toll did not rise.
Angel Colon, a survivor of the attack, told the story of his ordeal at club, and expressed his gratitude to the doctors at the hospital. The young man wiped back tears from his eyes as he described being shot in the leg, and collapsing on the ground, where he was trampled by fleeing clubgoers. Colon also expressed gratitude to a police officer who dragged him out of the club. Colon said that the floor of Pulse was littered with broken glass, and that he could sense that his body was wet with blood.
“If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here,” Colon said to the staff of the hospital, his voice shaking with emotion. “I will love you guys forever.”
Doctors who were called to the scene in the wake of the massacre described the trauma center at Orlando Health as resembling a “war scene.” They described the Herculean effort that was required of staff in order to meet the demands created by the bloodshed. Cheatham called it a “team effort.”
Mateen, the killer, was said to be a regular at Pulse and other gay clubs in Florida, according to witnesses. Estella Peterkin, head of security at Pulse, told ABC News she had to kick him out for bad behavior on multiple occasions.
The shooting unfolded over the course of three hours early Sunday morning when Mateen approached the Pulse nightclub armed with a .223 caliber AR-type rifle and a Glock handgun. After engaging in gunfire with an officer stationed outside the club, he entered and sprayed the venue with bullets. Fifty people are dead, including the gunman, and 53 others were injured in the attack.
Vigils were held Monday night to honor victims of the Pulse shooting. Orlando’s tight-knit LGBT community continues to grieve the tragedy.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News