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Local Orlando news station says Mateen called during shooting

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ORLANDO - Omar Mateen, the shooter in the massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, made several phone calls during the three-hour hostage situation and standoff early Sunday morning.

Besides talking to police negotiators and pledging allegiance to ISIS during a 911 call, a local news station says he also gave them a call to say hi, among other things.

Matthew Gentili, a producer for local cable News 13, said he was gathering information on the shooting at about 2:45 in the morning, about 45 minutes after Mateen started killing people inside Pulse nightclub, when the phone rang.

Viewers had been flooding the station with inquiries about the devastation unfolding, but one caller had something to say.

"I answered the phone as I always do: 'News 13, this is Matt.' And on the other end, I heard, 'Do you know about the shooting?'" Gentili said.

As the producer replied that he had been getting reports about it, Gentili said the caller cut him off.

"I'm the shooter. It's me. I am the shooter," the person on the other end said.

Gentili said he was left stunned and speechless, and then caller said he did it for ISIS, before starting to speak in Arabic.

Shooting survivor Patience Carter said she was trapped in the bathroom of Pulse with Mateen with several other victims, alive and dead, when he was making phone calls. She told reporters yesterday that she distinctly remembers him speaking what sounded like Arabic, although whomever was on the other end of the phone wasn't clear.

Gentili said whether it was English or Arabic, he had a hard time understanding the caller.

"At the time, I didn't know what he was saying," Gentili said. "He was speaking so fast. But it was ... he was speaking fluently. Whatever language he was speaking, he knew it. And he was speaking it very quickly. And that is when I said to him, 'Sir. Please. Speak in English, please.'"

Eventually, the news producer said he asked the caller where he was calling from, to which the caller replied it was "none of my (expletive) business."

"It was silent for a while. I asked him: 'Is there anything else you want to say?' " Gentili said. "He said no and hung up the phone."

Gentili said when he was done with his shift later in the day, the FBI interviewed him about the call. Officials have not detailed the phone calls made during the massacre. News 13 reports the number they received a call on matches Mateen's cellphone number.

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