Grand Jury Considers Whether To Charge Orlando Gunman's Wife

Jun 15, 2016
Originally published on June 15, 2016 6:58 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

My co-host Ari Shapiro is in Orlando. And in a few minutes, we'll hear a series of conversations he had today with three close friends - gay men ranging in age 54 to 60. And they're thinking about a specific time in their lives as they mourn the young people who were lost in Sunday's shooting at Pulse Nightclub.

As families of the 49 victims in Orlando prepare for funerals and memorials, there isn't much new information today about the investigation. Law enforcement is staying tight lipped about possible motives and other details about the gunman. NPR's Kirk Siegler begins our coverage.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Underneath the hot Florida sun, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge stood on the baking blacktop near the Pulse Nightclub with a large fan roaring. Agent Ron Hopper pleaded to the public to come forward with any tips about the shooter's whereabouts or activity in the days and months before the massacre.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

RON HOPPER: We will leave no stone unturned, and what that means is, at the end of all of our interviews, however long that takes, if someone is able to be charged in this investigation, we will bring them to justice.

SIEGLER: Hopper, who called it both a terrorist attack and a hate crime, said the gunman is currently the sole focus of the FBI's investigation. There has been widespread speculation about whether he had help or at least sympathizers. Special Agent Hopper also responded to other reports that the gunman might have scouted out other places before the attack at Pulse.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

HOPPER: And at this time, there is nothing to suggest there was any other target other than the Pulse Nightclub.

SIEGLER: At the press conference, reporters pressed authorities. What was the motive? Was there a second gunman? Will anyone be charged? Authorities didn't answer and gave few new details. The U.S. attorney for this part of Florida, Lee Bentley, did say the authorities are aware of multiple threats that had made toward the region's Muslim community.

LEE BENTLEY: Making these threats is illegal. Stop it. Any threats like this detract from we are doing in law enforcement.

SIEGLER: Meanwhile there was at least some good news today in this terrorized city. Two more patients have been released from the Orlando Regional Medical Center, the trauma hospital just down the street from the nightclub. There are still about two dozen patients here. Four of those are close friends of Francisco Pabon. He stopped by the hospital today to check in on them.

FRANCISCO PABON: It was something horrible like - I don't want, like, somebody, like, to live that moment.

SIEGLER: It's horrible, he says. I don't want anyone to have to live through something like that. Families and loved ones of the 49 victims are beginning the somber process of planning funerals and memorials now that the coroner's office has completed autopsies.

Today the city of Orlando opened a family assistance center at a local football stadium. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told reporters many of the victim's families are in the middle of mourning, but they need so much right now.

BUDDY DYER: We have lawyers for all of the legal needs. A lot of these people have never been through any type of probate, don't even know who to call related to that. But there's just the very simple things like recovering your loved one's car.

SIEGLER: Back at the still closed street in front of the Pulse Nightclub, authorities have begun letting some people retrieve their cars and other things left in the chaos early Sunday morning. Kirk Siegler, NPR News, Orlando. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.