Noor Zahi Salman is the wife of Omar Mateen.
Salman has not been arrested, and she has not made any public statements.
In the wake of Sunday’s early morning shooting at the gay club Pulse, though, investigators are taking a closer look at members of Mateen’s family as they try to understand the 29-year-old gunman and his attack.
Salman has told the FBI that she accompanied her husband to Pulse at least once prior to the massacre, in a trip that a U.S. law enforcement official described as “reconnaissance.”
“With respect to the wife, I can tell you that that is only one of many interviews we have done and will continue to do,” Ronald Hopper, FBI assistant special agent in charge, said at a Wednesday news conference.
Salman grew up in Rodeo, Calif., a community about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, in a family with Palestinian roots, the AP reported.
Neighbors of her family in California told The Washington Post that she had married Mateen a few years earlier. Salman was described as friendly, outgoing and stylish.
Her father died in 2015; that was the last time the neighbors saw her.
“You know, some kids after high school, they open up the box and the world is theirs. She was inside the box — just pack it up and get married,” a neighbor, Jasbinder Chahal, told AP.
Chahal told the wire service that Salman and Mateen had a small wedding and “took lots of pictures here at the house.” She described a sheltered childhood for Salman and her sisters, saying, “Noor never played in the street, and the girls were never allowed to drive.”
Neighbors who spoke with The Post, however, recalled her playing softball and described her family as modern Muslims.
Chahal said Salman’s mother, Ekbal Salman, was deeply upset when she visited her Monday night and said she feared for the safety of her daughter and grandson.
“Her mother would always complain that the husband did not let her visit the family,” another neighbor, Sarwan Kaur, told the Bay Area News Group, in an interview conducted through a translator.
Both Salman and Mateen had previously been married. Mateen’s ex-wife has described him as abusive and unstable. In addition to trying to corroborate Salman’s statements, investigators will work to figure out whether she was abused, according to authorities.
Salman “wasn’t a religious person,” said 56-year-old Bedar Bakht, a member of the mosque that the Mateen family attended.
“She didn’t socialize with the masjid people — as the women say,” he said with a nod to his wife, who stood beside him.
AP reported that Salman stopped by the Florida apartment she shared with her husband on Monday, with police officers and her brother-in-law in tow. She didn’t talk to reporters, according to AP, but her father-in-law said she was picking up clothes.
Zara Stone, Abigail Hauslohner, Mark Berman, Matt Zapotosky, Brian Murphy and Adam Goldman contributed to this report, which has been updated.