How the Media Vilified the Pulse Shooter’s Wife

How the Media Vilified the  Pulse Shooter’s Wife

How the Media Vilified the Pulse Shooter’s Wife

Two years after the Pulse shooting massacre, the shooter’s wife — Noor Salman — was found not guilty of aiding and abetting her husband. This came as a shock to many in the Orlando community who sought justice for the friends and family members they lost at Pulse. What many fail to realize, however, are the convoluted details of Ms. Salman’s life and the lies the media spread about her just days after the victims lost theirs.  

Following acts of terrorism, federal agents usually turn to the wives of the perpetrators immediately for information, often assuming they know about their husbands’ ties to terrorist groups. What investigators miss is that, sometimes, the wives themselves are victims.

According to an article in Orlando Weekly, some law enforcement officers reported to Fox News, the LA Times, and others that Omar Mateen and Noor Salman had scoped Pulse before the attack. After police killed Mateen at the scene, Ms. Salman confessed to the FBI that she drove him to buy ammunition for the massacre and knew of his plan to commit mass murder. Just three days later, The New York Post featured a headshot of Salman on their cover under the headline “She Could Have Saved Them All.”

The media buzz about Salman’s alleged involvement in the crime spread like wildfire. Quickly, a narrative developed which presented Noor as a cold, heartless enabler of the terrorism that tore Orlando’s LGBTQ community apart. In reality, the evidence to the contrary was strong enough to lead to her acquittal.

Inside the Life of the Pulse Shooter’s Wife

Noor Salman and Omar Mateen met in 2011 on an online dating site and married the same year. Salman had previously been married to an abusive man whom she married through an arranged marriage. Mateen had also been previously married to a wife he abused. When Salman became pregnant with their first and only child, he became violent toward her.

According to Orlando Weekly, Salman told the New York Times that Mateen had punched her while she was pregnant, pulled her hair, choked her, and threatened to kill her if she left the relationship. He also taunted her about losing her son because he would get custody. During their five-year marriage, Salman also succumbed to beatings and rape.

While in jail, Salman completed a danger assessment for victims of partner violence. The researcher who conducted the assessment showed that she scored in the “extreme risk” category reserved for women who were killed or almost killed by an abusive male partner. The researcher claimed that Ms. Salman’s behavior while in custody was exactly what one would expect from a severely abused woman. While she was in jail, a psych evaluation also led her to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mateen did many things behind Salman’s back, including watching extremist videos of beheadings and other ISIS-related activities, pornographic videos, and browsing dating websites late at night. He also viewed violent videos at work on his phone, suggesting that he radicalized himself outside Noor’s presence.

False Confessions

After the shooting, police searched Mateen’s home and spoke with Salman. They then drove her and her son to the FBI’s Fort Pierce office where police interrogated Salman further. FBI agents testified that they were immediately suspicious of her; however, they failed to record or videotape any statements she made in the 11 hours she was in custody.

Salman confessed to their versions of the story after submitting to hours of interrogations in which agents accused her of lying. At one point, a polygraph expert took her into a room for another interview that lasted several hours. Although he did not conduct a polygraph test, he wrote her confessions down. He threatened her child if she lied to him and eventually, Salman wrote in her own handwriting that she was sorry for what had happened and wished she could tell authorities what her husband had planned to do. Her confession led the interviewer to believe she knew more than she had let on. He grilled her until she eventually confessed.

Salman continued to change her story and attempted to please agents by confessing events that never occurred. Cell phone data and web history contradicted many of her claims. A specialist in false confessions testified that Salman, with an IQ below 90, was at high risk for falsely admitting to crimes.

Noor Salman: Not Guilty

Noor Salman broke down in tears when the jury read the verdict. She had nothing but gratitude for the attorneys who fought for her and stuck by her during the entire ordeal. A panel of twelve jurors decided the verdict. While they did not all believe she was innocent, they did find her confession was coerced. Family members of the Pulse victims in the courtroom and survivors held their silence as the jury read the verdict. Many were upset by the decision. Ultimately, the jury spared Ms. Salman from being Mateen’s final victim.

The urgency of having a strong-willed legal team by your side during a criminal trial cannot be understated. We at the Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience practicing criminal law throughout Orange County. Call our office or email us a summary of your case. We will set up a free consultation so you can make the best decisions in what is arguably one of the most important events of your life.

Read more about Noor Salman’s case here:

How the Media Vilified the Pulse Shooter’s Wife