A portrait of the Orlando gunman’s wife began emerging on Tuesday, the day NBC News sources said she knew about the attack at the gay nightclub and tried to stop it and FBI agents visited her childhood home in Rodeo, California.
On Tuesday afternoon, three FBI agents visited Noor Zahi Zalman's childhood house between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., and where her mother still lives with her 14-year-old sister, an FBI spokesperson confirmed to NBC News. The agents, who were in plainclothes rather than FBI jackets, conducted a "knock and talk," typical of an investigation of this kind. The visit lasted less than two hours. The FBI said the visit was not a raid.
At the time of the FBI's visit, there were other family members inside the house, including two of Salman's younger sisters and two nephews.
Neighbors told NBC Bay Area they heard two women and a man say "FBI" when they knocked on the house next door. Video footage obtained by NBC Bay Area shows the agents leaving in their car. RAW: FBI Visits Childhood Home of Orlando Shooter's Wife
Since the massacre of 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Florida Sunday by her husband, Omar Matteen, Salman has been cooperating with the FBI but could still face criminal charges, NBC News first reported.
Salman told the FBI she was with Mateen, when he bought ammunition and a holster, several officials familiar with the case told NBC News. She also told the FBI that she once drove him to Pulse nightclub, because he wanted to check it out. And even though she told the FBI she tried to talk him out of it, NBC News reported that authorities are now considering whether Salman failed to tell them what she knew before the attack.
Salman had four listed email accounts in a public records database, including one to the now-defunct Heald College in Concord. She did not respond to any of the four emails sent to her Tuesday by NBC Bay Area, though two bounced back. One of the emails had Mateen's name in the prefix. Calls to her phone number did not work.
Neighbors on the quiet street in Rodeo, 45 minutes from San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area on Monday that Salman was the daughter of Ekbal Zahi and Bassam Abdallah Salman, who died of a heart attack several years ago. The couple has three other daughters - the youngest is 14. Salman's mother still lives at the home but did not come out to speak. According to neighbors, she attended John Swett High School in nearby Crockett, California.
Salman married Mateen, neighbors said, and moved to Florida about five years ago, despite the fact that there is no known marriage license on record. All the neighbors described her as kind and normal, and a young woman who came from a nice Muslim family. Neighbors told NBC Bay Area they thought Salman looked beautiful in her dress on the lawn of the home before she headed off to her ritual Muslim wedding.
A Miami news station reporter tweeted that Salman left Port St. Lucie, Florida after midnight on Tuesday, and lowered her head before the media frenzy camped out there. She deleted her social media accounts, minus one photo of her and Mateen with their 3-year-old son. It appears as though the couple has been together since 2013 based on mortgage records.
Facebook accounts for her relatives show they are Palestinian, the Daily Beast reported. The Daily Mail obtained photos from inside Mateen's apartment, and also reported that Salman is a second-generation American, born to a well-heeled Palestinian family who emigrated to California from the West Bank in the 1970s.
And it appears as though Salman had been married previously in Palestine and then moved to Illinois with Ahmed Aburahma from 2005 to 2009, NBC News reported. Aburahma moved to Tucson and has since remarried.
"She's a nice person," he told NBC News. "She liked to go out. She liked to eat out. She was nice."
He added he hadn't heard from her in a while.
"I don't know nothing what happened after we got divorced," he said. "She went back with her family. I didn't hear anything after that."
Mateen also had been married before. That ex-wife, Sitoria Yusufiy, told reporters this week that she left Mateen because of possible mental illness and abuse.
Back in California, Rodeo neighbor Sarwan Kaur said Mateen apparently wouldn't let Noor Salman's mother visit her in Florida.
"Like, even when she was in the hospital, her husband wouldn't let her come see her own mother," Simrat Chahal said on behalf of his grandmother.
NBC News, Andrew Blankstein and Pete Williams contributed to this report.