FBI Releases Partial Transcripts of Orlando Nightclub Shooter's 911 Calls
The shooter called 911 in the midst of his June 12 rampage
Update: On Monday afternoon, the FBI released unredacted transcripts and issued the following statement:
The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter’s interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation. We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda. Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime. As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.
About 30 minutes after he opened fire at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando last Sunday in a mass shooting that killed 49 innocent people, shooter Omar Mateen called 911, his first of several calls that night, according to an FBI release containing partial transcripts of the calls.
“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,” he told the dispatcher, according to the release.
Whenever the dispatcher asked for the shooter’s name, he reiterated that he pledged allegiance to a specific group – although the FBI has redacted the name of the group.
After the 911 call was disconnected, the shooter engaged in three phone calls with the Orlando Police Department’s crisis negotiation team.
In these calls, the shooter identified himself as an Islamic soldier. According to the FBI release, he “told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is why he was ‘out here right now.'”
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Despite Claims, Shooter Didn’t Have Explosives
Subsequently, according to the release, the shooter said, “There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know.” The shooter added, “You people are gonna get it, and I m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.”
Later in the call with the crisis negotiator, the shooter stated that he had a vest, and further described it as the kind they “used in France.” According to the FBI release, the shooter later stated, “In the next few days, you re going to see more of this type of action going on.”
As victims were removed from the club, they told authorities that the shooter had threatened to put four bomb vests on clubgoers.
However, authorities did not find any vests in the shooter’s car or in the club.
At 5:15 am – more than 3 hours after the shooting started – police shot and killed the shooter in a bathroom of the club.
WATCH: FBI Source Says Federal Officials Were Aware of Orlando Gunman Long Before Mass Shooting
FBI Finds No Ties to Foreign Terrorist Groups
At a press conference following the release of the partial transcripts, Ron Hopper, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge, explained the FBI’s reason for redacting the name of the group to which the shooter pledged allegiance: “Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist acts in the past,” adding, “We’re not going to propagate their rhetoric, their violent rhetoric.”
Hopper said, “We currently have no evidence that he was directed by a foreign terrorist group,” and said officials believe he was self-radicalized.
Hopper said the shooter made “murderous statements … in a chilling, calm and deliberate manner.”
Hopper said the investigation into the shooter’s motive and events surrounding the shooting “may last months and even years,” saying the FBI will bring “justice to the victims who died as well as the families of the deceased who were viciously murdered.
As the FBI pieces together what happened on the night of June 12, they ask anyone with information to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit tips.fbi.gov.