Newly Released Transcripts Of The Orlando Shooter’s 911 Calls Paint A Clearer Picture Of What Happened
On Monday, the FBI released transcripts of the 911 calls made by the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, during the terrorist attack, offering more insights into what actually happened inside Pulse nightclub June 12. According to the transcripts, the Orlando shooter said, “I did the shootings,” and claimed there was a vehicle with explosives attached outside Pulse. Partial transcripts of the shooter’s talks with the police during the massacre were also released Monday, but the Department of Justice announced that any mention of religious motivations for the attack that killed 49 were removed.
Mateen died in a shootout with the police inside the nightclub, but the calls make it clear that he had already claimed responsibility for the shooting. In a call made to 911 at 2:35 a.m., not long after the police responded to initial reports of shots fired, he praised “God the Merciful” and said, ” I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.” When the dispatcher tried to get his location, he would only answer that he was in Orlando, not specifying the club. The authorities previously revealed that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS during a 911 call, but any such statements were redacted.
“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told NBC.
Not redacted from the transcripts is Mateen calling himself an Islamic soldier and asking for America to stop bombing Iraq and Syria, saying that’s why he was “out here right now.” He claimed there would be more attacks in the following days, saying: “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.”
Along with calling 911 on himself, Mateen also checked Facebook to see if his attack was going viral while he held people captive inside the club. The Senate Homeland Security Committee disclosed this information in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking for Facebook’s help retrieving information from the shooter’s account.
The police talked to Mateen three times as crisis negotiators tried to talk him down. The cops intervened after he made threats to put bomb vests on hostages, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina defended the decision for the police to wait three hours before storming the club, telling The Orlando Sentinel the team treated the attack like a barricaded gunman with hostages — which it was. He also said he had no doubt officers saved lives while going in and out of the club to rescue hostages during that time through a hole in the bathroom.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan urged the Obama administration to release the full transcripts, since it’s already known Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS. He tweeted a photo of a statement that read: “Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous … The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why.”
Attorney General Lynch will travel to Orlando Tuesday to receive more briefings on the ground and meet with victims, local officers, and first responders.