Officials released audio recordings Monday of the exchanges between shooter Omar Mateen and Orlando police on the night of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
The June shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando left 49 people dead and 68 injured, becoming the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Written transcripts of Mateen’s 911 calls during the shooting were released in September.
In one call, an Orlando police officer tried to extract information from Mateen, asking if he knows what’s going on at the nightclub and if he did something
“You already know what I did,” Mateen answered after saying he felt the “pain of the people getting killed in Syria and Iraq.”
Mateen spoke with police throughout a series of phone calls between 2:35 a.m. and 3:25 a.m. on the night of the shooting, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Circuit Judge Margaret Schreiber ordered the city to immediately release the audio of the calls on Monday. Audio of the calls is available on the Orlando Sentinel website.
“This is Mateen. I want to let you know I’m in Orlando and I did the shooting,” he told dispatchers in the first call, according to the Sentinel. “I pledge my allegiance to [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] of the Islamic State.”
Mateen said repeatedly that the U.S. needed to end air strikes and stop “bombing Syria and Iraq.”
“What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there? You get what I’m saying?” he said.
In the recordings, the negotiator told Mateen he wanted to help him.
“Look, I’m trying to figure out how to keep you safe and how to get this resolved peacefully because I’m not a politician, I’m not a government,” he said. “All I can do is help individuals and I want to start with helping you.”
Mateen responded by saying a vehicle outside was rigged with explosives that could “take out a whole city block almost.”