Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
The latest batch
of 911 calls released from the June 12 massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse reveal the distress felt by victims trapped in the club as they waited for help from law enforcement officials.
After the initial firing of bullets and with Omar Mateen still skulking inside the club with additional ammunition, emergency dispatchers received one of the first calls from a caller hiding in a closet with eight other people at 2:03 a.m.
"They are spraying bullets," she says, according to transcripts released by the city. "They are shooting bullets right now. My life is important."
As they continue hearing gunfire, the people in the closet barricade the door with a chair because it doesn't have a lock.
"A lot of people are getting shot, you know what I mean?" she tells the dispatcher. "I’m not trying to be one of them."
The transcript of another call around the same time has a man repeating "My legs, my legs," with screams and shooting noises in the background. Dispatchers received similar graphic calls during this time punctuated by yelling and the sounds of bullets.
From about 2:10 a.m. to 5 a.m., victims still trapped inside the club began getting desperate as police officers assess the situation and hostage negotiators communicate with Mateen, who threatens to put bomb vests on victims and says there's explosives outside. Around 4:55 a.m., one caller asks that police please come, asking the dispatcher, "Where are they? I don't understand. Everyone's getting worse. Where are they?" One injured caller around 2:11 a.m. tells the dispatcher he's hiding under a pile of bodies in one of the bathrooms.
"They are dying. They are drying. We’re dying," he says. The operator responds by saying, "No, no, no. Don’t say that, OK? The paramedics are coming."
Around 5 a.m., police use an armored vehicle to break down one of the walls near the bathroom, rescuing the final victims and engaging in a deadly shootout with Mateen, who dies in the gunfight. An Orlando police spokeswoman tells the Orlando Sentinel
, "Officers from our agency and others, and members of SWAT, were inside of Pulse extracting and saving dozens of people after shots were initially fired and when the gunman was holding hostages in the bathrooms."