“There’s no doubt in my mind, based on the information I knew and I received from the FBI over the past seven months, that [the shooter’s wife] knew, that she aided and that she could have prevented this tragedy,” Chief John Mina told CNN.
On Monday authorities in California arrested Noor Salman, whose husband, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with police that ended the June 12 attack at the popular gay-friendly club.
Salman, 30, is scheduled to appear today in federal court in Oakland, California, near where she was arrested at her home outside of San Francisco, where reports say she has been living with the couple’s young son after relocating from Florida.
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Her attorney denied allegations in federal charging documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Authorities allege Salman “did knowingly aid and abet Omar Mateen’s attempted provision and provision of ‘material support or resources’ … to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, knowing that the organization was designated as a terrorist organization, and that the organization had engaged and was engaging in terrorist activity and terrorism, and the death of multiple victims resulted.”
A federal official told PEOPLE that Mateen had called 911 during the shooting and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“Noor Salman had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to of that tragic night,” attorney Linda Moreno said in a statement reported by multiple outlets.
“Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands,” Moreno said. “We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”
The two-count federal charges, formally filed on January 12, accuse Salman of Aiding and Abetting by providing material support to a terrorist organization, along with Obstruction of Justice,” the documents state.
The latter accuses Salman of “knowingly … misleading conduct” toward the FBI and local police in Fort Pierce, Florida, where the couple lived, “with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent” the communication of information related to the attack.
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She and her husband exchanged texts during the attack, according to statements from law enforcement sources to PEOPLE last June.
“Federal authorities have been working tirelessly on this case for more than seven months, and we are grateful that they have seen to it that some measure of justice will be served in this act of terror that has affected our community so deeply,” Chief Mina posted to Twitter after announcing Noor’s arrest.
“Nothing can erase the pain we all feel about the senseless and brutal murders of 49 of our neighbors, friends and family members and loved ones,” he said. “But today, there is some relief in knowing that someone will be held accountable for that horrific crime.”