Omar Mateen’s wife, Noor Zahi Salman, told the FBI she believed he was actually planning to unleash terror at the Pulse nightclub as she drove the two-hour trip north from their home in Port St. Lucie.
She also claimed that tried to talk her husband out of carrying out the attack.
In addition, she said she was with him when he bought ammunition and a holster, several officials familiar with the case said.
At the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, the small mosque where Omar Mateen prayed three or four times a week, Imam Shafeeq Rahman said he taught his congregants that being gay is a sin.
But on Monday, witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel and the Canadian Press that Omar Mateen frequented Pulse. Drag queen performers Chris Callen and Ty Smith, who are married, said they saw Omar Mateen get drunk at Pulse, complain about his father’s strict ways and saw him escorted from the club several times.
Omar Mateen appeared to have no issues with gay men, they said, and even went to one or two drag queen shows.
“It’s the same guy,” Callen said. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”
In the months leading up to the carnage, Mateen visited gay chat rooms, messaged people on gay dating apps and even frequented the same gay nightclub he would eventually terrorize, sources said.
Armed with the weapons, Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub, a popular gay hangout near downtown Orlando, about 2 a.m. Sunday.
Orlando police Chief John Mina said that after a gun battle with officers, Omar Mateen was in the bathroom, on the phone with 911, when he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. In a separate statement made public on Sunday, the Massachusetts State Police said he also invoked the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings during the attack.
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