By Allen Payton
According to an ABC News report on Sunday, June 19, 2016 and an L.A. Times article posted today, Noor Zahi Salman, the widow of Orlando terrorist Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was born in San Pablo, grew up in Rodeo, graduated from high school in Crocket and married Mateen in Hercules in Western Contra Costa County, California.
The ABC News report states:
The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter had learning difficulties when she was in middle school and was enrolled in special education classes, according to her now retired teacher in California.
Susan was Noor Zahi Salman’s teacher at her middle school in Crockett, California. ABC News is not using Susan’s full name or showing her face at her request.
“Noor had difficulty with retention. She had difficulty with conceptualizing, understanding — all challenges to her,” Susan said. “She tried hard. She was very sweet.”
Her family confirmed that Susan was Salman’s special education teacher and that she was enrolled in special education classes.
Susan said Salman was considered a “special day class student” – meaning she had to take all her classes with special education teachers.
The L.A. Times article provided more information about Salman’s background and local ties.
The child of Palestinian immigrants, Salman was born in San Pablo, in the Bay Area, and grew up in Northern California in a hilly neighborhood of tract homes in Rodeo, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. She graduated from John Swett High School in 2004.
They were married in Hercules, in Contra Costa County, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2011.
Although Salman accompanied Mateen on at least one trip to the Pulse nightclub before the attack for what is being considered reconnaissance, she has not been charged with any crimes, yet, nor is she currently listed as a suspect.
“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,” said Ronald Harper, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Orlando, said during a news conference on Wednesday, June 15.
“I am not going to speculate today if any charges have or will be brought in this case,” added Lee Bentley, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.
In spite of her special education classes in middle school, Salman graduated from both high school and college, according to other news reports.
The FBI investigation continues.