“911, what is the location of your emergency?” a dispatcher routinely asked.
“Pulse, Pulse nightclub,” the caller replied, trying not to speak too loudly.
“Are you inside the club still?”
“Are you injured?”
This was the script of many of the 21 newly released emergency calls from the night of June 12, when a gunman killed 49 people and left dozens more injured at Pulse nightclub.
More than half of the calls in the cache were made just as the shooting had begun. Many of the callers were able to find a place to hide and call law enforcement. The audio suggests that dispatchers were overwhelmed with incoming calls and advised callers to quietly stay where they were, assuring them that police officers were on the scene and trying to reach them safely.
Other calls, made about two hours after initial reports of gunfire at Pulse, were made by friends and family members of people who were inside the club, many of whom were impatient with police response.
“This is the seventh time I’m calling you guys,” a male caller said. “My girlfriend is in Pulse hiding in the bathroom, there are four dead and two injured and they’re about to die, and yet you guys have done nothing in over an hour.”
“Sir, we are working the scene,” a dispatcher said.
“Can you call her … you people ain’t doing shit,” the caller said over the dispatcher’s attempts to calm him down before being directed to her supervisor.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office released the batch of calls today, saying this latest release is of the “remainder” of the calls made to OCSO that night.
The City of Orlando has released only a small portion of its calls. Orlando, according to court documents, claims the calls are part of an active criminal investigation and are therefore exempt from public records laws.
The batch of calls released by Orlando did not include an alleged call made by the shooter who, according to a transcript released by the FBI, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The Associated Press, Knight News and other media organizations are suing Orlando for that call and more than 500 other calls out of the 603 that were made the night of the shooting.