911 logs: Orlando shooting victims begged for help and rescue
In 911 logs, released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, dispatchers describe calls from victims who were trapped inside the club
By Jason Dearen
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Emergency call logs released Thursday show that victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando pleaded with sheriff’s deputies and dispatchers to save them as they described losing their breath and feeling their bodies go numb from their wounds.
Gunman Omar Mateen’s rampage at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 left 49 people dead and 53 injured before police fatally shot him after a more-than-three-hour standoff. It was the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
In the most recent batch of 911 logs released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, dispatchers describe calls from multiple victims, including an 18-year-old woman who said “she is losing eyesight and feeling in her body.”
Orlando Police initially responded to Pulse at 2:02 a.m., but when the police dispatch center became overwhelmed that night, overflow calls were sent to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s 911 call-receiving center, said Sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves. Also, 911 calls made by parents and concerned friends outside of the Orlando area who were communicating with victims inside the club were routed to the sheriff’s center that night.
At 2:05 a.m. sheriff’s dispatchers first noted a “shooting inside Pulse nightclub, multiple people down.” By 2:10 a.m., Orlando police had told deputies there was still an active shooter inside, and sheriff’s dispatchers began receiving calls from victims.
“Victim (says) her body is going numb,” a dispatcher wrote at 2:21 a.m.
“Another subject called in to advise she was injured, sounded out of breath. Advised she was possibly in the bathroom,” another wrote at 2:22 a.m.
“My (victim) is 18 years of age. ... she is losing eyesight and feeling in her body,” a dispatcher wrote at 2:36 a.m.
The logs show it took just minutes for law enforcement to know they were dealing with a shooter carrying a high-powered weapon, and that normal protections weren’t an option.
At 2:17 a.m., a dispatcher wrote that units “need shields,” referring to bulletproof armored shields used to protect officers in raids.
A minute later, another deputy advised that the gunfire coming from Pulse “sounds like an AK” or “a long rifle.”
“Shield will not stop rifle fire,” a dispatcher wrote.
Throughout the ordeal, the sheriff’s logs show people pleaded for deputies to come inside and help.
“Pleading for deputies to enter back entrance to club on NW corner. He is in the room on the west side of the building in a closet in the back,” the dispatcher wrote at 2:40.
Several minutes earlier, at 2:32:55, a dispatcher wrote, “Compl(ainant) adv(ises) losing feeling in her leg. . Just keeps saying I don’t want to die today.”
Numerous club-goers managed to escape from Pulse during the three-hour standoff, and first responders managed to pull some victims from the front of the club when Mateen went into the back areas.
Still, neither the sheriff’s call logs nor those released by Orlando police on Tuesday shed much light on why police didn’t go in earlier. Records do show that for a time they believed Mateen had explosives.
The sheriff’s 911 logs show that at 2:51, dispatchers were advised by Orlando police that Mateen said he had several bombs.
At 4:29 a.m., dispatchers said, “A text advises the suspect is going to attach 4 vests to 4 people in different directionals in the club.”
The logs also show that ammunition was found in a car on the north side of the club’s parking lot.
Dispatchers also noted dozens of calls from frantic family members who were communicating with their loved ones inside.
Some included references to small acts of heroism amid the carnage.
"(Mother) called in reference to son ... in unknown bathroom ... son was shot, unknown where and is with a friend who is a doctor trying to control bleeding.”
Finally, at 5:14 a.m., sheriff’s dispatchers noted that Orlando police were reporting shots fired in the north bathroom where Mateen was located.
“Confirmed suspect is down,” they wrote at 5:31 a.m.