ORLANDO (MEDIA GENERAL) – Investigators have said Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen called 911 during the shootings to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. Now, we’re learning a television producer said Mateen called him as well during the assault.
Matthew Gentili is a producer at News 13, a cable news channel in Orlando.
The organization published an article Wednesday where Gentili describes hearing words he’ll never forget.
“I’m the shooter. It’s me.”
Gentili said the man called the news station at 2:45 a.m., about 45 minutes after the shootings started. According to the Washington Post , the call came into the station just 15 minutes after Mateen’s first call to 911. In that 911 call, Mateen quickly hung up without saying anything. He later called back.
When Gentili answered the phone at the station, the man on the other end asked if Gentili had heard of the shooting. He then said he was the shooter, and he said he did it for ISIS. Next, he started speaking in Arabic.
Gentili said he asked where the caller was and the man responded by swearing and saying it was not his business. The phone went quiet for a while, then Gentili asked if the man had anything else to say and he said “no” and hung up.
The station’s article quotes Gentili saying, “I’m definitely changed. When you get a call like that, I’m never going to be able to answer the phone again without thinking this is the most serious call I’ll ever get in my life.”
After a long shift, Gentili was interviewed by the FBI. The feds won’t confirm if Mateen was the caller, but News 13’s managing editor did confirm the phone number the call came from matched Mateen’s.