The gunman who killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub told police that he had multiple explosive devices and that his attack would unleash a slew of violence.
“There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know,” the gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, told Orlando police negotiators shortly after seizing control of the gay club Pulse, according to details released by the FBI on Monday morning. “You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.”
Later in the call, Mateen told police that he had a suicide vest like the ones that were “used in France,” presumably referring to the terrorist attack in Paris last November. In that attack, adherents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used guns and suicide vests to kill 130 people.
Hostages later told police that Mateen had threatened to strap bomb vests on four people held as hostages inside of the nightclub for roughly three hours early on the morning of June 12.
“In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on,” Mateen told police at some point between 2:48 and 3:24 a.m. After the threat, he hung up on police negotiators, and they were unable to get back in touch with him.
Police never found explosives on Mateen or in his automobile, suggesting that the remarks were an empty threat.
But the warning nonetheless sheds some light on the grisly details of the early morning standoff and the calculations that police had to make before they tore down a wall to free the hostages and kill Mateen in a shootout.
The FBI released snippets of conversation from Mateen’s 911 calls and conversation with hostage negotiators on Monday as part of an update into the ongoing investigation.
In the 911 calls, Mateen identified himself as an Islamic solider, the FBI said, and told the U.S. to halt bombing of Syria and Iraq.
“Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic],” Mateen said, according to the FBI’s partial transcript. “I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.”
Mateen called 911 three times during the standoff, in addition to his conversations with the police negotiating team.
However, law enforcement officials redacted any references to ISIS. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Sunday that ISIS would not be identified so as not to further the group’s propaganda efforts.