About 45 minutes after Omar Mateen began shooting up Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday, a News 13 producer in the city received a phone call that he says was from the killer. Matthew Gentili said he answered one of the many phone calls coming in to ask about the shooting, but this one was different.
“I will never forget the words he said to me,” he said. “I answered the phone as I always do: ‘News 13, this is Matt.’ And on the other end, I heard, ‘Do you know about the shooting?’” Then, a man claiming to be Mateen responded: “I’m the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter.” Then the man said, “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.” At one point, the caller began speaking Arabic. Gentili asked where he was, but the man said it was “none of my [expletive] business.” Gentili said in an interview, “It was silent for a while. I asked him: ‘Is there anything else you want to say?’ He said no and hung up the phone.” Gentili was interviewed at home by FBI agents after everything was over.
A managing editor at the station tracked the number back to Omar Mateen, though agents wouldn’t confirm his identity. “I’m definitely changed,” Gentili said afterward. “When you get a phone 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.” Read more at News 13.