World & Nation

‘He is gonna try to kill cops’: 911 calls reveal the terror of Orlando nightclub shooting

Nightclub shooting
Thousands gather for a memorial rally in downtown Orlando after the nightclub attack.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

By 3:20 a.m. on June 12, officers had figured out the gunman in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub was Omar Mateen and were dialing his cellphone repeatedly. Most of the time, he didn’t pick up.

When a negotiator who called himself “Officer Andy” dialed and redialed, he and another police officer talked about the killer.

“He sounds sober as the day is long and not stressed at all, so I think he’s committed; I just don’t think he’s ready,” the unidentified employee said.

In a recording six minutes later, while still trying to reach Mateen, a city employee said, “He sounds like he’s stoned, to be perfectly honest.”


Later in that conversation, one said, “He is gonna try to kill cops.… He’s not coming out.”

The 911 calls were among 36 released Monday after a judge ruled the city had to make public the bulk of the calls, including those to or from Mateen.

Forty-nine people were killed and at least 68 injured. Mateen died during a shootout with law officers.

The calls placed during and after the shooting reveal a chaotic scene where some people were hiding in a bathroom and others were outside, panicking.


In one call placed about 2:38 a.m., a woman said she was just outside the club with her sister, who was bleeding and not responding.

“Am I supposed to do something?” the woman asked.

“Is she bleeding a lot?” the dispatcher responded.

“She looks like she’s bleeding a lot,” the woman said.

The dispatcher told her to get a clean cloth if she could find one and apply pressure directly to the wound.

The woman began to sob. “My God,” she said.

“We’re going to get your sister some help, OK?” the dispatcher replied.

“She’s just laying there,” the woman said.


A few seconds later, the line was disconnected.

At 5:06 a.m., another woman called 911 about her brother-in-law and a friend, who she said were hiding in a bathroom.

“I just want to see if they were getting rescued. He’s bleeding a lot,” the woman said.

“Yeah, we actually have a dispatcher on the line with them active and we have SWAT inside the building. They’re going to attempt to get them out here soon,” the dispatcher said.

The woman thanked him softly and hung up.

The calls show that dispatchers were inundated and didn’t have enough help to respond to everyone. Someone named Heather from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office asked whether police needed help with any calls. The dispatcher sighed.

“You know what, I haven’t even had a second to look. Give me one minute, please,” she said.

Police had 10 calls waiting for assistance.


Stutzman, Jacobson and Tziperman Lotan write for the Orlando Sentinel.

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