Orlando attack: Prosecutors are collecting evidence against wife of gunman

Omar Mateen's second wife told investigators she had urged her husband not to launch the attack

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 16 June 2016 00:23 BST
Reports said Mateen's second wife was cooperating with agents
Reports said Mateen's second wife was cooperating with agents (Facebook)

Investigators are said to be gathering evidence against the wife of the Orlando gunman which they will present to a federal grand jury. The grand jury - made up of members of the public - will decide if there is sufficient evidence to charge her.

In the aftermath of the shooting that left that 49 people dead, it was reported that the second wife of gunman Omar Mateen had told investigators she was aware of his plans to launch an attack and tried to stop him.

It emerged federal investigators were looking to decide if she could be charged with failing to tell police about the impending attack, which also left more than 40 people wounded.

People hold a vigil for the Orlando shooting victims.
People hold a vigil for the Orlando shooting victims. (Mandel Ngan/Getty)

On Wednesday, CNN and other US media said federal prosecutors were now planing to gather evidence and present it to the grand jury to determine if there is a case to be brought against the 30-year-old woman. It was also reported that she had been with him when he bought ammunition and a holster and had once dropped him off at the Pulse night club when he apparently went to scope it out.

On Monday officials said that people than Mateen were being investigated.

“There is an investigation of other persons. We are working as diligently as we can on that,” US prosecutor Lee Bentley told reporters. “If anyone else was involved in this crime, they will be prosecuted.”

On Wednesday Mr Bentley again declined to provide specifics but added: “We are talking to his friends, family [anyone who came into contact] with the shooter in the months before the attack."

Orlando's LGBT Community Holds Vigil for Victims of Mass Shooting

As his victims lay bleeding to death at the nightclub, Mateen appaently stopped to make several phone calls. He called a friend to say goodbye and a journalsit at a local television channel, News 13 in Orlando, to proclaim he was carrying out the massacre on behalf of Isis.

Producer Matthew Gentili said he answered the newsroom phone int he early hours of Sunday.

“I'm the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter,” Mateen said, according to Mr Gentili. “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.”

The latest revelations on Wednesday emerged as the authorities asked the public for any additional information about Mateen or the attack that so many families devsatated.

“This was an act of violence born out of hate that inflicted terror on an entire community,” said FBI Special Agent Ron Hopper. “I would call it a hate crime, I would call it terrorism. It’s both.”

The FBI has given intelligence bulletins to gay clubs in the Orlando area to give them a heightened sense of awareness, Mr Hopper said. But he said there was no credible or specific threat of an imminent attack against Orlando or the United States. He also said there was no evidence to suggest Mateen planned to target any gay club other than Pulse that night.

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