Pulse 911 calls record panic, frustration during mass shooting

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PHOTO BY JEREMY REPER
  • Photo by Jeremy Reper
Three hours after the first reports of shots fired at the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12, a father called 911 in hopes of helping his son. The call, made at 5:03 a.m., came right as Orlando Police broke a wall to get into the club. 

"He's still in the bathroom and he's bleeding," he tells the Orange County Sheriff's Office dispatcher while he sobs. "He got shot. And nobody's gone in for him." 



The Sheriff's Office released 20 emergency calls to their dispatch center from family and friends desperate to get help for the victims trapped inside the club. Around 2 a.m. that Sunday, gunman Omar Mateen started a massacre that ultimately left 49 dead and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Several news organizations are suing the City of Orlando for the release of its 911 calls. 

The 911 calls released Tuesday showed callers becoming frustrated by the response of law enforcement. The Orlando Police Department has faced questions about the amount of time it took to attack and ultimately kill Mateen. 



At 2:43 a.m., a woman tells a dispatcher her brother is inside the club and can only text her. 

"He says he’s in there," she says. "There’s been a shooting, and there’s a lot of people dead."

At 3:30 a.m., one man called saying his ex-girlfriend was trapped in one of the club's bathrooms. 

"My girlfriend's hiding in the club Pulse, where people are shot and dead and there's like 18 people hiding in the bathroom," he tells the dispatcher. "Are you guys sending anybody there? … They’re all scared to death and they all think they’re going to die." 

An hour later, the same man cursed at a dispatcher, telling her there were now four people dead in the bathroom with his ex-girlfriend while two other people were in the process of bleeding to death. 

"There's nobody in the fucking nightclub," he says in the recording. 

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