A lawyer representing survivors and relatives of victims from the Pulse nightclub massacre filed a lawsuit Wednesday against gunman Omar Mateen’s employer and wife, alleging that they were capable of stopping him before the deadly June shooting.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci filed the suit – which claims wrongful death and negligence, among other counts – in a South Florida federal court on behalf of more than four dozen survivors and family members of the deceased, The Associated Press reports. Forty-nine people were killed and dozens were injured during the massacre at the gay nightclub, which marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Romanucci said Mateen’s employer, international security company G4S, allowed him to carry a gun while working as a security guard despite being aware of his mental instability. “Mateen gave out so many warnings that someone should have reined this guy in,” the attorney told the AP, adding that Mateen obtained a firearm license through his job. “They should have said, ‘You are not stable. You shouldn’t have a weapon.'”
The lawyer added that Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman, knew her husband planned to carry out the attack. “Rather than warn authorities, she kept it a secret and acted as his accomplice,” Romanucci said.
Salman is currently awaiting trial in jail. In January, she pleaded not guilty to federal charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice. Salman’s family maintained she was unaware of Matten’s plan for the massacre on June 12th, which involved a two-hour drive from their home in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Speaking to authorities, Salman reportedly offered conflicting accounts of her knowledge prior to the shooting. She told the FBI her husband said he wanted to carry out a jihadist attack, but she denied specific knowledge of his plans. Meanwhile, prosecutors argued that Salman accompanied her husband as he cased locations for potential attacks.
In December, Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, backed away from a proposed $2.25 million sale of the nightclub, expressing plans to “create a space for everyone, a sanctuary of hope and a welcoming area to remember all those affected by the tragedy.”