Chilling audio of Orlando gunman’s 911 calls is released

Chilling audio of Orlando gunman’s 911 calls is released
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New audiotapes of Orlando, Fla., gunman Omar Mateen depict the killer as tense, high-strung and eager to pledge support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the midst of his massacre.

Across multiple separate audio files from June released by the city of Orlando late on Monday, Mateen repeatedly invoked ISIS’s name and called for the U.S. to abandon its military efforts in the Middle East.

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“You’re speaking with the person who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Mateen told a police officer.

“What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there?” he added. “They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes. They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes.”

The recordings came from calls between Mateen and emergency officials, including a 911 operator and the Orlando police department, during his June massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. One of the files includes portions of a call between a law enforcement official and a victim trapped inside the club.

Mateen’s shooting was the deadliest act of terror on U.S. soil since 9/11, and the most lethal shooting in recent history. He killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others before being shot to death by police.

The city had previously released the transcript of Mateen’s 911 call, but not the audio.

Initial excerpts released by the Justice Department this summer caused a firestorm because references to ISIS were at first redacted.

Critics called the maneuver an attempt to cover up the source of Mateen’s inspiration, as part of what they termed a broader failure to adequately recognize the threat of ISIS and similar extremist organizations.

The Justice Department quickly reversed course in response to the backlash.