Orlando shooting: Gunman said he was Islamic soldier

The partial, printed transcripts were of three conversations Mateen had with the police during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, in which 49 people died and dozens were wounded.

By: AP | Orlando | Updated: June 20, 2016 9:35 pm
orlando, orlando shooting, omar mateen, florida shooting, pulse nightclub, gay nightclub shootout, gay nightclub, nightclub shootout, us mass shooting, mass shootout, world news During the 50-second call with a dispatcher, Mateen “made murderous statements in a chilling, “calm and deliberate manner,” said Ronald Hopper, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Orlando. (Source: AP Photo)

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen spoke in Arabic to a 911 dispatcher, identified himself an Islamic soldier and demanded to a crisis negotiator that the U.S. “stop bombing Syria and Iraq,” according to transcripts released by the FBI on Monday.

The partial, printed transcripts were of three conversations Mateen had with the police during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, in which 49 people died and dozens were wounded.

Those communications, along with Facebook posts Mateen made before and after the shooting, add to the public understanding of the final hours of Mateen’s life.

The first call came more than a half hour after shots rang out, when Mateen told a 911 operator, “Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God,” he told the dispatcher, referring to God in Arabic.

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“I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.”

During the 50-second call with a dispatcher, Mateen “made murderous statements in a chilling, “calm and deliberate manner,” said Ronald Hopper, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Orlando.

However, there is no evidence Mateen was directed by a foreign terrorist group, and he was radicalized on his own, Hopper said.

Mateen’s name and the groups and people to whom he pledged allegiance were omitted from the excerpt. But the FBI has previously said he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

Shortly after the call, Mateen had three conversations with crisis negotiators in which he identified himself as an Islamic soldier and told a negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. He said that was why he was “out here right now,” according to the excerpt.

Meanwhile, hospital officials said four people remained in critical condition Monday morning, more than a week after they were wounded in the attack.

Orlando Regional Medical Center said 18 victims from the shooting were still at the hospital and three more surgeries were scheduled for Monday. The other 14 patients are listed in stable condition.

Armed with a semi-automatic weapon, Mateen went on a bloody rampage at the Pulse nightclub June 12. He died in a hail of gunfire after police stormed the venue.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will travel to Orlando on Tuesday to meet with investigators. She said that a key goal of the investigation was to determine why Mateen targeted the gay community. The victims were predominantly gay and Hispanic since it was “Latin night” at Pulse.

Around Orlando, people left balloons, flowers, pictures and posters at a makeshift memorial in front of the city’s new performing arts center and at Orlando Regional Medical Center where 49 white crosses were emblazoned with red hearts and the names of the victims.

The crosses were built by a Chicago carpenter with a history of constructing crosses for victims of mass shootings. Greg Zanis drove from Illinois to Orlando last week and installed the crosses at the medical center, where many of the 53 shooting victims who survived were taken for treatment.

Dr. Khurshid Ahmed was part of a group of Muslim-Americans at a Sunday vigil attended by tens of thousands who held signs reading, “Muslims Condemn Extremism.” A letter from the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said Mateen wrote on Facebook that “real Muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the West.”

TRANSCRIPT

2:02 a.m.: OPD call transmitted multiple shots fired at Pulse nightclub.
2:04 a.m.: Additional OPD officers arrived on scene.
2:08 a.m.: Officers from various law enforcement agencies made entrance to Pulse and engaged the shooter.
2:18 a.m.: OPD S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons & Tactics) initiated a full call-out.
2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Shooter (OM)

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OD: 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.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

(Shortly thereafter, the shooter engaged in three conversations with OPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team.)

2:48 a.m.: First crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately nine minutes.
3:03 a.m.: Second crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately 16 minutes.
3:24 a.m.: Third crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately three minutes.
4:21 a.m.: OPD pulled an air conditioning unit out of a Pulse dressing room window for victims to evacuate.
4:29 a.m.: As victims were being rescued, they told OPD the shooter said he was going to put four vests with bombs on victims within 15 minutes.
(An immediate search of the shooter’s vehicle on scene and inside Pulse ultimately revealed no vest or improvised explosive device.)
5:02 a.m.: OPD SWAT and OCSO Hazardous Device Team began to breach wall with explosive charge and armored vehicle to make entry.
5:14 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that shots were fired.
5:15 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that OPD engaged the suspect and the suspect was reported down.

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