ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A patron hiding inside the Pulse gay nightclub as a gunman carries out the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history whispers to a dispatcher on a 911 call, “He is going to kill us.”
The 911 call was among more than 20 released Wednesday by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office assisted the Orlando Police Department in responding to the June 12 massacre that killed 49 people, including answering 911 calls when the police department’s dispatchers were overwhelmed.
The Orlando Police Department has released only a fraction of the more than 600 emergency calls it received during the June 12 club shooting. A lawyer for the city of Orlando said this week in a court hearing involving a legal fight over the release of the records that more calls will be made public soon.
The man on the 911 call whispers that he is uninjured and hiding in a back room at the club, a little more than five minutes after the shooting started. The dispatcher at first seems confused, not realizing the man is talking about the nightclub shooting. But when she catches on, she tells him to stay where he is and that law enforcement officers have arrived.
It would be another three hours before SWAT team members breached a club wall to free patrons trapped inside and killed gunman Omar Mateen during a shootout. In addition to the 49 killed, another 53 were hospitalized.
In many of the calls, the callers — either patrons trapped inside or family members with loved ones at the club — try to hang on the phone as dispatchers, while sympathetic, tell them officers are at the scene and that they need to take other incoming calls.
A woman tells a dispatcher that her husband has called her from the second-floor of the nightclub where he is trapped. In another call, a sister says her brother is trapped in a bathroom. “He said there is a lot of dead people,” she said.
“We are in the club, searching for everybody. We are pulling victims out,” the dispatcher said. “Please just have patience.”