The trial and subsequent acquittal of Noor Salman, wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, has revealed that Mateen didn’t deliberately target LGBTQ people in an attack that left 49 dead and 52 injured.
According to reports, there was no evidence Mateen was a closeted homosexual, as reporting after the attack suggested, or that the Pulse shooting had anything to do with the fact that it was an LGBTQ nightclub. Instead, the shooting was apparently a response to American foreign policy.
Theories emerged in the wake of the shooting that Mateen had privately used Grindr, had visited Pulse before, and his first wife even said that Mateen was gay and ridiculed by his father because of it.
However, investigators found no trace of Grindr ever being installed on his phone. Instead, they found evidence of affairs with two women as well as searches for pornography featuring older women. And while Mateen searched obsessively for information on ISIS, his internet search history did not have any content regarding homosexuality.
Investigators also said that he had never been to Pulse prior to the attack, and that Mateen targeting a gay nightclub may have just been a coincidence. They said his original target was the Disney Springs shopping center, but he opted for another location due to the security present at the mall.
Mateen instead googled ‘downtown Orlando nightclubs’ one hour before he committed the attack, not using the term ‘gay’ or ‘LGBT’ in his search, and that led him to Pulse.
According to the Huffington Post, a security guard “recalled Mateen asking where all the women were [in the club], apparently in earnest, in the minutes before he began his slaughter.”
While Mateen may not have specifically targeted the LGBTQ community, his support of ISIS would indicate a dislike for LGBTQ people. According to his father, a former FBI informant under criminal investigation, his son got angry after seeing two men kissing.
“We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid, and he got very angry,” he said to NBC News. “They were kissing each other and touching each other, and he said: ‘Look at that. In front of my son, they are doing that.'”
A jury in Florida last week found Noor Salman not guilty of providing material support to Mateen, with the prosecution saying “her only sin is she married a monster.”