Mateen to 911 dispatcher: 'I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings'

By Audrea Huff, Andrew O'Brien and Julie Gargotta, News 13 Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 5:39 AM EDT

After some pushback from lawmakers, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, for only releasing a redacted transcript, Monday the Department of Justice released a full version of the exchanges between the gunman who killed dozens at Pulse nightclub and 911 dispatchers.

  • FBI provides partial timeline of events the night of the Pulse shootings
  • FBI: Mateen talked to 911 dispatcher in 'chilling, calm and deliberate manner'
  • Mateen said he wanted US to stop bombing Syria, Iraq

More than 500 interviews have been conducted, and thousands of tips have poured into the FBI's tip line, FBI Assistant Special Agent Ron Hopper said during a news conference Monday. More than 600 pieces of evidence have been gathered and processed from the crime scene, he said.

Omar Mateen, whom law enforcement authorities have identified as the man who opened fire inside the nightclub June 12, told the 911 dispatcher that "I let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings," according to the FBI's released excerpts.

The gunman described his actions to 911 dispatcher in a "chilling, calm and deliberate manner," the FBI said.

At about 2:35 a.m., Mateen called 911 from the club:

Dispatcher: "Emergency 911, this is being recorded."
OM: "In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]"
Dispatcher: "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."
Dispatcher: "What's your name?"
OM: "My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]."
Dispatcher: "OK, What's your name?"
OM: "I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]."
OM:"All right, where are you at?"
OM: "In Orlando."
OM: "Where in Orlando?"

"Rush to Judgement"

At a news conference Monday, investigators and police were on the defense, setting the record straight about the events which transpired Sunday. The DOJ released an approximate timetable, from the time of the first calls for shots fired at 2:02 a.m., to after 5 a.m., when OPD SWAT rushed the nightclub to free hostages, they said so the public could understand the timeline of events and "what law enforcement officers on the ground were dealing with" the night of the shooting at Pulse nightclub.

“Some have mistakenly rushed to judgment regarding the actions of these brave men and women,” said Ron Hopper, Assistant Special Agent in the FBI.

“The Orlando Police Department, Orange County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and others should not be second guessed,” added U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley.

During the three-hour timespan, crisis negotiators spoke with the gunman three times, totaling nearly 30 minutes. In the conversations, Mateen told them to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. He also claimed he had a vehicle outside with bombs and vests, like those “used in France,” and alluded to future attacks. None of those claims were substantiated, according to the FBI.

"We currently have no evidence that he was directed by a foreign terrorist group but was radicalized domestically," Hopper said.

In the partial transcript, the version initially released to the public, the FBI said it intentionally omitted the name of the shooter and the group to whom he pledged allegiance, which was ISIS according to original information released by authorities and surviving victims within the nightclub who heard Mateen make his pledge.

"Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist acts in the past," Hopper said.

Police asserted they were going in and out of the club, saving victims, readying the SWAT team and getting their explosives in check to bust through the wall.

At about 4:21 a.m., Orlando Police officers pulled out an air conditioning unit from a window of a Pulse dressing room to let clubgoers get out, according to investigators. Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday that about eight people were saved through that window. As the clubgoers were being rescued, they told officers that the shooter inside said he was going to put explosive vests on people in 15 minutes.

Just after 5 a.m., OPD SWAT and Orange County Sheriff's Office hazardous device teams set off an explosive charged to breach a wall and used an armored vehicle to try to get inside the club.

"Upon that entry of our officers, there was no other gunfire until the hostage rescue situation took place," Mina said. "During that three hours, I want to make sure everyone is clear: There was no gunfire."

"I am extremely proud of the officers, and I am very confident they saved many, many lives," he said.

Questions concerning reports of shots fired inside the bathroom, where the gunman was barricaded alongside victims, were dismissed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Long-term investigation

“This investigation is one week and one day old, and it may last months, or even years. I want you to know we will endeavor to bring justice to the victims who survived, as well as the family of the deceased,” Hopper said.

Also Monday, the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office said it had released Mateen's body from the office. At the request of the FBI, no further information will be available regarding the shooter's autopsy report, who the body was released to and when the body was released, the office said.

The FBI said it won't release any audio of the 911 calls or calls between Mateen and the OPD negotiators. Releasing redacted and partial transcripts complies with state law, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said. "We are not in any way trying to hide anything," he said.

Said Hopper: "Yes, the audio is compelling, but to expose that now would be painful to exploit them in this way."

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is scheduled to visit Orlando on Tuesday to meet with investigators. She will also be meeting with first responders, local law enforcement and victims of the attack.

Interactive timeline of Pulse shooting

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