Mateen to 911 dispatcher: ‘I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings’

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The gunman who killed dozens at Pulse nightclub identified himself as the shooter to a 911 dispatcher and told Orlando crisis negotiators to stop bombing Syria and Iraq, according to an excerpt of a timeline of events released Monday by the FBI.

  • FBI provides partial timeline of events the night of the Pulse shootings
  • FBI: Mateen talked to 911 dispatcher in ‘chilling, calm and deliberate manner’
  • Mateen said he wanted US to stop bombing Syria, Iraq

More than 500 interviews have been conducted, and thousands of tips have poured into the FBI’s tip line, FBI Assistant Special Agent Ron Hopper said during a news conference Monday. More than 600 pieces of evidence have been gathered and processed from the crime scene, he said.

Omar Mateen, whom law enforcement authorities have identified as the man who opened fire inside the nightclub June 12, told the 911 dispatcher that "I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings," according to the FBI’s released excerpts.

The gunman described his actions to 911 dispatcher in a "chilling, calm and deliberate manner," the FBI said.

At about 2:35 a.m., Mateen called 911 from the club:

Dispatcher: "Emergency 911, this is being recorded."
OM: "In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]"
Dispatcher: "What?"
OM: "Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings."
Dispatcher: "What’s your name?"
OM: "My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]."
Dispatcher: "OK, What’s your name?"
OM: "I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]."
OM:"All right, where are you at?"
OM: "In Orlando."
OM: "Where in Orlando?"

In the partial transcript, the FBI said it intentionally omitted the name of the shooter and the group to whom he pledged allegiance. "Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist acts in the past," Hopper said.

The FBI said the transcripts were released so the public could understand the timeline of events and "what law enforcement officers on the ground were dealing with" the night of the shooting at Pulse nightclub.

At least three crisis negotiations occurred after the 911 call, during which Mateen identified himself as an Islamic soldier and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that was why he was "out here right now," the FBI said.

"We currently have no evidence that he was directed by a foreign terrorist group but was radicalized domestically," Hopper said.

Mateen told crisis negotiators that a vehicle outside the club "has some bombs," and that he would ignite them if they "try to do anything stupid." The FBI said Monday that no explosives were found inside or outside Pulse the night of the shooting.

At about 4:21 a.m., Orlando Police officers pulled out an air conditioning unit from a window of a Pulse dressing room to let clubgoers get out, according to investigators. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday that about eight people were saved through that window. As the clubgoers were being rescued, they told officers that the shooter inside said he was going to put explosive vests on people in 15 minutes.

Just after 5 a.m., OPD SWAT and Orange County Sheriff’s Office hazardous device teams set off an explosive charged to breach a wall and used an armored vehicle to try to get inside the club.

"Upon that entry of our officers, there was no other gunfire until the hostage rescue situation took place," Mina said. "During that three hours, I want to make sure everyone is clear: There was no gunfire."

"I am extremely proud of the officers, and I am very confident they saved many, many lives," he said.

Questions concerning reports of shots fired inside the bathroom, where the gunman was barricaded alongside victims, were dismissed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Also Monday, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office said it had released Mateen’s body from the office. At the request of the FBI, no further information will be available regarding the shooter’s autopsy report, who the body was released to and when the body was released, the office said.

The FBI said it won’t release any audio of the 911 calls or calls between Mateen and the OPD negotiators. Releasing redacted and partial transcripts complies with state law, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said. "We are not in any way trying to hide anything," he said.

Said Hopper: "Yes, the audio is compelling, but to expose that now would be painful to exploit them in this way."

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is scheduled to visit Orlando on Tuesday to meet with investigators. She will also be meeting with first responders, local law enforcement and victims of the attack.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood around Pulse is expected to be back open to the public "early this week," Hopper said, but "this investigation is one week and one day old, and it may last months and even years."

Interactive timeline of Pulse shooting

Open PDF in a new window

Bay News 9 – local-news

June 20, 2016 |

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