The city of Orlando has released written logs of the hundreds of 911 calls made in real time by panicked and wounded victims who witnessed the bloody June 12 terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL carried out by jihadist Omar Mateen.
Orlando police dispatchers heard repeated gunfire, screaming, and moaning from revelers who called to report that Mateen, armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, had stormed the busy club with a primarily gay and Latino clientele and opened fire, according to the a written police log released by the city Tuesday among hundreds of pages of documents linked to the massacre.
The other documents have prompted questions about whether one of the club’s exits may have been blocked weeks before the shooting.
Meanwhile, the written logs of the emergency calls provide a new glimpse of the carnage from the perspective of those inside the club who experienced it first hand. It provides the most detailed account yet of what occurred during the attack through narration based on entries made in real time and marked down to the minute and the second.
The logs shows the confusion among police officers as they were trying to figure exactly what was taking place inside the club, the terror of some victims reporting on their own gunshot injuries, and the dread that filled the dozens of Pulse patrons trapped in areas throughout the facility, whispering into their cellphones, imploring for rescue, and hoping that the jihadist would not get come near them next.
By the end of a three-hour standoff, 49 people had been killed and 53 wounded. Most of the killings occurred during the first 16 minutes. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police.
According to the logs, dispatchers received the first call of “shots fired” at 2:02 a.m., a dreadful message that was repeated at least 30 times as caller after caller described the carnage, sometimes in English, other times in Spanish.
Sometime the dispatcher knew where the call was coming from by picking up the horror in the background on the caller’s cell phones.
“Hearing gunshots closer, multiple people screaming,” one dispatcher wrote in the log.
“My caller is no longer responding, just an open line with moaning,” said another one.
Dispatchers reported hearing up to 30 gunshots in the background at one point.
Often all the dispatcher heard was, “Still shooting,” or people screaming and moaning.
Grim calls reporting the fatalities started to pour in while bullets were still flying, noted by dispatchers in entries marked with abbreviations like “c” for caller and “cadv” for “caller advises.”
The dispatchers wrote:
“Multiple down.” “Someone is screaming I’m shot.” “C is shot in the stomach.” “C is shot in the leg and knee.” “Cadv his friend (redacted) has been shot in the chest.” “Cadv sister has been shot twice.” “Cadv vic is losing a lot of blood.” “Cadv vic is no longer responding to him.”
Around the time the city’s SWAT team was called out, just before 2:19 a.m., the gunfire stopped and Mateen crouched down for nearly three hours with his hostages.
Soon thereafter, Mateen called 911 to claim responsibility for the massacre and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), according to the FBI.
“Saying he pledges to the Islamic State,” wrote a dispatcher at 2:40 a.m.
“SWAT breached,” says an entry on the log marked 5:02 a.m. The officers traded gunfire with Mateen at 5:15, says another entry, noting, “Shots fired north bathroom,” and less than a minute later, “Subj down.”
Using a police term for armed, an entry just before 5:18 a.m. says, “Bad guy down strapped.”
Initially, Orlando city officials refused to provide any details of the 911 calls made by the victims and witnesses to news organizations, citing confidentiality under a Florida law and arguing that the ongoing investigation into the incident kept the calls classified.
Until Tuesday, the city of Orlando had only released transcripts of the 911 calls made by Mateen. Nearly two dozen news organizations are suing to get the recordings of all 911 calls linked to the massacre.