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FBI Arrests Wife of Orlando Nightclub Shooter


Suspected Orlando shooter Omar Mateen. (Orlando Police Department)

U.S. authorities say the wife of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen has been arrested on charges of obstructing justice.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday confirmed the arrest of Noor Salman near San Francisco, where she had been residing with her young son. Prosecutors say Salman will make an initial appearance in court Tuesday in nearby Oakland, California.

Salman had been under intense police scrutiny since her late husband opened fire on an Orlando nightclub popular with gays in June 2016, killing 49 people and wounding more than 50 others in an attack said to have been inspired by Islamic State extremists.

Mateen, 29, was shot dead by police after a three-hour standoff at the facility.

Orlando police and the FBI have investigated whether Salman had prior knowledge of her husband's plot.

Law enforcement authorities have said Salman accompanied her husband on at least one trip to Orlando's Pulse nightclub prior to the attack. She has also admitted accompanying him when he went to buy ammunition.

However, she told the New York Times last year that she did not know the purpose of the club visit. She also said she had no reason to suspect that ammunition bought by her husband days before the killings was to be used in the massacre. She said he frequently made such purchases, which she linked to his work as a security guard.

Salman further sought to boost her claim of innocence by noting she had bought her husband a Father's Day greeting card, which she planned to give him when he returned home on the evening of June 12. Her lawyers argue that the card purchase backs her story that she did not know about the attack that occurred that evening.

Salman previously told authorities her husband was physically abusive and said he shrouded his personal activities in secrecy.