June 28, 2016 – Miami Herald
New records released in the Orlando nightclub massacre offered a glimpse into the chaos of that bloody night while spurring confusion about whether an exit door may have been blocked as clubgoers fled the killer.
The log of 911 and police calls chronicled 193 minutes of chaos, with terrified callers describing a gunman apparently reloading as he stalked victims in the dark nightclub, possibly with bombs strapped to his chest. Some described horrific gunshot wounds to their friends, and some fell victim themselves.
“My caller is no longer responding, just an open line with moaning,” one dispatcher noted.
In the first few dark and panic-filled hours, it’s clear police didn’t know exactly what they were dealing with. Were there explosives? Booby-trapped hostages? Multiple shooters?
The police logs, along with code-enforcement reports and emails of city leaders released Tuesday, did not include the full 911 audio calls from shooter Omar Mateen or calls between him and police crisis negotiators during a three-hour standoff. More than 20 news agencies, including the Miami Herald, have sued, seeking the 911 calls, which in general are public record under Florida law.
But the new cache of records did reveal that the Pulse nightclub passed a city fire inspection in January, but just weeks before the massacre, an inspector checked off “Exit Door or Hardware Inoperable” on a form. At the same time, emails and text messages from the fire marshal noted that after the shooting, she saw a photo of a soda machine blocking one door. [READ MORE]