The Orlando shooter exchanged text messages with his wife as he carried out his attack on Pulse nightclub on Sunday 12 June, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation revealed. Omar Mateen reportedly asked his wife, Noor Salman, if she had seen the news after launching the deadly attack.
According to CNN, Mateen was holed up in a bathroom, when he and his wife began texting each other. A source close to Salman said Mateen's mother called her around 2am—when the shooting started—to ask whether she knew where her husband was. Salman did not know so she texted her husband: "Where are you?"
Mateen replied: "Do you see what's happening?" The source said Salman responded "No?" to which Mateen replied: "I love you, babe."
A federal law enforcement official confirmed to NBC News that the couple exchanged messages. Salman then attempted to call him several times during the standoff on his mobile phone, the official said. An official told CNN that the timing of Salman's calls followed after reports of the attack became public. Mateen did not answer her calls.
NBC News reported that Salman was told of her husband's attack at 4am when police called her and demanded she leave the home she shared with her husband with her hands up. An hour later, Mateen would confront police and would be killed in a shootout with officers. During the three hour siege, Mateen killed at least 49 people and left 53 others injured.
Mateen's wife has come under intense scrutiny in the days following the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. Authorities said Salman gave conflicting accounts of what she knew of her husband's plans in the hours before the attack. Salman told investigators that in the weeks before the shooting, her husband spent thousands of dollars, including on the Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic assault-style rifle and pistol he used in the attack.
It was earlier reported that law enforcement found Salman had purchased ammunition with Mateen before the attack. Investigators also believe she drove with her husband by Pulse nightclub to survey it before the attack. Salman allegedly told FBI investigators she had tried to stop her husband from committing the shooting, CBS News reported.
The couple married in 2011 after meeting online. They have a 3-year-old son and lived in Fort Pierce, Florida. According to CNN, a US attorney plans to present evidence before a federal grand jury to determine whether charges will be filed against Salman.