(ORLANDO, Fla.) — As investigators piece together the motives behind what caused the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — which took the lives of 49 people and left dozens more injured — the focus now turns toward the shooter’s wife for possible answers.
What did Noor know?
Noor Mateen, the 30-year-old wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, 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.
Noor Mateen was with her husband when he recently bought ammunition and a holster, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News.
Authorities said that Noor was not initially forthcoming with investigators, but she began to open up and cooperate after pressure from investigators. While inside Pulse, after the initial shooting, Mateen not only called 9-1-1 but also placed a call to someone else he knew.
The couple were married for about three and a half years, Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, told ABC News. He said he had no idea if she were involved in the attack.
No final decision has been made whether to charge Noor Mateen, according to the sources.
Mateen’s sexuality questioned
Omar Mateen’s father Seddique Mateen told ABC News his son, and Noor were married for 3.5 years, they were close and had a good marriage, they shared everything and lived together.
Seddique said she was a good housewife and had no idea if she was involved in the attacks. He also added that he didn’t think his son was gay.
He said if he was gay, his wife would know. He said that if his son was using gay dating apps or going to clubs it is likely he was scouting a location for an attack.
Employees and patrons of Pulse tell ABC News that Mateen was a regular at the club for several years. James Van Horn, a Pulse patron, told ABC News “the shooter used to come into the bar on a regular basis sometimes he would be there for a few weeks at a time and maybe on the weekends.”
FBI agents also heard accounts that Mateen used gay dating apps to make contact with men.
“When he first contacted me, he was saying, like asking, what clubs, in his words, what clubs are popping and things of that sort, and what are good places are to go,” Kevin West said to ABC station KTRK.
Survivors speak out
Victims of the horrific shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub recounted the moment the gunman burst into the club and started shooting.
Angel Colon told reporters he was at the Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning saying goodbye to friends when Omar Mateen burst in and started shooting.
“Out of nowhere we hear a big shot and then we stop what we’re doing and it keeps going,” Colon told reporters Tuesday at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Colon was shot three times in his leg and was trampled as he laid on the floor, he said.
“I tried to get back up but everyone started running everywhere and I got trampled over,” Colon said. “I shattered and broke my bones on my left leg.”
A Philadelphia woman recounted the frightening hours she spent locked in a bathroom with the gunman at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Patience Carter, 20, said she was at the club with two friends during a family vacation to Orlando when the gunman ran in and started shooting.
Carter said she and one of her friends ran outside and initially escaped the area but soon realized their other friend was missing. They went back for their friend and ended up being trapped in a bathroom as the gunman got closer, she said.
“We just went from having the time of our lives to having the worst night of our lives,” she told reporters today during a news conference at Florida Hospital in Orlando.
Carter described the terrifying moments when Mateen entered the bathroom and started shooting, leaving people injured on the floor. She said that at first she thought he had a BB gun but then realized she was being hit with particles from a wall that was coming apart from the force of assault rifle bullets.
After she and her two friends were shot, they remained trapped with the gunman for hours, she said. She had a shattered femur in her right leg and another shot in her left thigh.
“I was begging God to please take me … to take the soul out of my body, because I didn’t want to feel any more pain,” she said.
Of the 44 patients brought to hospital, 27 are still admitted while six still remain in critical condition, according hospital officials.
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday evening that of the 49 victims, 20 victims have been released to a funeral home.
Communities still grieving, yet resilient
Thousands gathered to mourn the victims lost in Sunday’s massacre in several venues across Orlando Tuesday evening.
A bell chimed as each of the 49 names of the deceased were read at a vigil at First Baptist Orlando.
More than 2,500 people sang, prayed and held hands during the vigil.
Some were visibly emotional as the names of the dead were read. One man told ABC New’s that hearing the chimes felt like “blood calling out for vengeance.”
Another woman said she came to the church for the first time because of the overwhelming amount of grief she felt.
Despite the overwhelming sadness felt across the country, Pulse nightclub — the epicenter of the shooting massacre — tweeted early Wednesday morning:
“We will not be defeated.”
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