ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Pulse patron hiding in a bathroom during a rampage inside the Orlando nightclub tried to calm more than a dozen other people trapped with him and reassured them that they would be rescued, according to new 911 audio recordings released Tuesday.
The 911 calls show the unidentified man trying to encourage others around him as he talks to a police dispatcher during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. To distract one patron from the pain of her gunshot wound, the man asks her to tell him about herself.
“We’ve made it this far. We’ve got it. We’ve got it,” the man can be heard saying to the other trapped patrons. “Hang in there.”
The man tells the dispatcher two dead bodies are blocking the door, another person is passed out from a wound to the chest and several of the 15 trapped patrons are shot. He describes how the wounded patrons are getting weaker.
“They need paramedics. I mean now. We have two guys. They are losing blood,” the man tells the dispatcher.
Growing frustrated with the fact they haven’t been rescued yet, he says a little later, “We need action.”
The dispatcher tells him repeatedly during the hour and a half call that officers are going through the club rescuing people and that they should stay where they are.
“They’re coming for you right now,” the dispatcher says over again.
The man talking to the dispatcher described how gunman Omar Mateen fired 16 shots into the bathroom without opening the door. Another time, he describes hearing a police robot outside the bathroom door.
The 911 recordings were the latest round of calls released by the city of Orlando after a legal fight with media companies, including The Associated Press. The media companies argued their release would help the public evaluate the police response to the massacre.
Toward the end of the call, the dispatcher warns the man that SWAT team members are about to set off small explosions in order to breach a wall to the club and rescue them. Shouting can be heard in the background as the wall is being breached, and then men, presumably officers, command “Move! Hands up!”
At one point, the dispatcher asks the man if he knows the people he’s with in the bathroom. The man says no.
“But I’m learning as I go,” he said. “I don’t know people’s names but I do know faces I will never forget as long as I live.”
Mateen was killed during a shootout with SWAT team members after the wall was breached, ending a three-hour standoff during which 49 patrons were killed and another 53 people were seriously injured. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS during a call with police negotiators.
In October, audio from the 911 calls made by Mateen the night he went on the rampage were released.
The city previously released a transcript of the calls.
In the first call, made at at 2:48 a.m. on June 12, Mateen can be heard calmly pledging allegiance to ISIS. His voice rises in anger when he talks about the bombings in Iraq and Syria.
Mateen emphatically tells a police negotiator that he needs to tell the U.S. government to stop bombings in Syria and Iraq.
“Who am I speaking with, please?” the negotiator from the Orlando police asks.
“You are speaking with the person who pledges allegiance to the Islamic State of (inaudible),” Mateen responds.
The negotiator then asks Mateen to tell him where he is located.
“No. Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq,” Mateen says quickly. “They are killing a lot of innocent people. So what am I to do here? When my people are getting killed over there. You get what I’m saying?”
“I do. I completely get what you’re saying,” the negotiator answers. “What I am trying to do is prevent anyone else from getting ...”
“You need to stop the U.S. airstrikes,” Mateen interrupts. “They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes, okay?”
Later in the call, the dispatcher asks Mateen to tell him what he did.
“You already know what I did,” Mateen answers.
The negotiator tells Mateen he is trying to keep him safe, and get this situation resolved peacefully. Mateen responds by saying there are vehicles outside with bombs in them.
“Your people are going to get it and I’m going to ignite it if they try to do anything stupid,” Mateen says.
The negotiator asks what vehicle, “Because I don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”
“No. But I’ll tell you this, they can take out a whole city block almost,” Mateen responds.
In the call, Mateen also calls the Boston Marathon bomber his “homeboy.” He refers to himself as an Islamic soldier, and a Soldier of the God.
Mateen also indicates that he is wearing a vest, “It’s what they used in France,” he says. But later, he tells the dispatcher he is not wearing a vest after all.
The call continues with Mateen ranting about Iraq and Syria, and demanding the bombings stop. At one point, he seems to hang up the call.
Media groups want the calls released so the public can evaluate the police response to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
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