October 31, 2016 – Orlando Sentinel
by Gale Tziperman Lotan, Rene Stutzman & David Harris
The man on the phone said he was the person who had just opened fire June 12 inside Pulse nightclub, but Orlando police could not be sure.
The caller, later identified as Omar Mateen, repeatedly hung up on the Orlando police negotiator who had to call him back more than a dozen times.
From about 3:15 a.m. to about 3:20 a.m., officers could be heard in the background trying to pinpoint where Mateen might be. The background noise was “sterile,” said one officer, as if he were in an office. Or a bathroom, said another.
“I’m still not convinced this guy’s in there,” the negotiator said as Mateen’s phone rang. Law enforcement officers were going to Mateen’s address in Fort Pierce to check whether he was home, and Orlando police pinged his cellphone to establish his location.
Despite his misgivings, the negotiator, who identified himself as Andy, treated Mateen seriously when they talked.
He spoke calmly but with a sense of urgency as he tried to pry information from Mateen: where in the club he was, whether there were injured people with him, whether he had explosives or accomplices, what would get him to surrender.
The nearly 30 minutes of audio of Omar Mateen’s 911 calls were released Monday. The written transcripts of the calls were made public in September.
The attack on the LGBTQ nightclub left 49 people dead and at least 68 injured. Orlando police and Orange County deputies killed Mateen during a shootout just after 5 a.m.
…Orange Circuit Judge Margaret Schreiber on Monday ordered the city of Orlando to immediately release audio of the calls that Mateen made to 911 and received from police that night. Attorneys for two dozen media companies, including the Orlando Sentinel, have pushed for the release of all 911 calls related to the massacre that night. [READ MORE]