Tuesday, October 16, 2018
News Roundup

Orlando releases nine out of the hundreds of 911 Pulse calls

ORLANDO — The city of Orlando on Thursday released a tiny fraction of the hundreds of calls that were made to 911 dispatchers during the Pulse nightclub massacre, including calls made by a father whose daughter was hiding in a bathroom after being shot twice and the girlfriend of a dancer who was sheltering from the gunman in a dressing room.

All nine of the calls released by the city of Orlando were from parents, siblings, partners and friends outside the gay nightclub who were communicating through phone calls or texts with patrons trapped inside.

Hundreds of other 911 calls, and communications gunman Omar Mateen made with the Orlando Police Department, are currently tied up in a legal battle between the city of Orlando and two dozen media groups, including the Associated Press.

The media groups argue that releasing the recordings will help the public evaluate the police response, but the city of Orlando says that the recordings are exempt under Florida public records law and that the FBI insists releasing them may disrupt the ongoing investigation.

During the June massacre, Mateen was killed by police after a lengthy standoff in a mass shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

Cassandra Lafser, press secretary for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, said in an email that the FBI had approved the nine calls to be released "as they do not contain anything that is considered 'active criminal investigative' material."

Earlier this week, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, which assisted Orlando Police in responding to the nightclub massacre, released a different batch of 911 calls.

The calls released Thursday came from the a manager whose five employees were hiding in a dressing room, a woman whose girlfriend also was trapped in a dressing room, a man whose sister was hiding by some trash and a father in Tampa whose daughter had called him to say she had been shot twice and was hiding in a bathroom.

"They are just all hiding and panicking," said the man whose sister told him phone she was hiding with three friends by some trash. "I was trying to keep them as calm as possible but they are all sniffling. I'm trying to tell them to stay calm."

The woman whose girlfriend was a dancer trapped in a dressing room told a dispatcher she had been waiting outside the club when she heard shooting. Her girlfriend was still inside the club.

"She is freaking out right now," the woman said. "She is saying 'Tell a cop. Tell a cop.' "

The father in Tampa told a dispatcher, about a half hour after the shooting started, that his daughter had called him saying she had been shot in the leg and arm and was hiding in the bathroom. The dispatcher tried to reassure him by saying that police officers were securing the area and that firefighter-paramedics would be going into the club soon. In reality, it would be at least another two and a half hours before SWAT team members breached a club wall to free patrons trapped in the bathroom.

"I'm sorry that's not a lot I can tell you right now because the officers are out there right now," the dispatcher said. "All I can tell you is try to take a deep breath and hopefully she will call you really soon."

Comments
'The killing has to stop,' Midtown residents say after bodies found in alley

'The killing has to stop,' Midtown residents say after bodies found in alley

Midtown residents say it's hard to find someone in the neighborhood who hasn't been affected by violence.
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Epilogue: Milton Llinas danced his way into hearts as USF’s ‘Rocky’

Epilogue: Milton Llinas danced his way into hearts as USF’s ‘Rocky’

BRANDON — Gusto is a prerequisite for those aspiring to wear USF's most conspicuous costume.Those who slip into the Rocky D Bull outfit must show they can slip out of self-consciousness. Mascot mettle is gauged at a formal tryout in a Selm...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Three manatees rescued in Oldsmar bayou preserve

Three manatees rescued in Oldsmar bayou preserve

Three manatees were found in the Mobly Bayou preserve unable to swim out because of the shallow waters.
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower prices and later voyages

The Cross-Bay Ferry returns Nov. 1 with lower ticket prices and later evening voyages between the downtowns in Tampa and St. Petersburg.Tickets will be $8 for adults — $2 less than during its first season two years ago — $3 for children 5 through 18,...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Rising mortgage rates push monthly house payments higher

Buying a house? Rising mortgage rates are pushing monthly payments for the typical U.S. home 15.4 percent higher than they would have been if you had purchased a year ago, Zillow says. Since January, the average mortgage rate has climbed from about ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Miami Hurricanes midseason review: Can the ‘Canes win the ACC Coastal again?

Miami Hurricanes midseason review: Can the ‘Canes win the ACC Coastal again?

If Florida State has been the state's biggest disappointment, Miami might be No. 2.The Hurricanes' playoff hopes were dented with LSU's Week 1 demolition and destroyed by last week's loss at Virginia. A team that started the year No. 8 in the country...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Pasco Sheriff: Land O’ Lakes man arrested after stealing, selling $7,000 car tire rims online

Pasco Sheriff: Land O’ Lakes man arrested after stealing, selling $7,000 car tire rims online

Pasco County deputies have arrested a Land O’ Lakes man they say stole rare Japanese car tire rims shipped to the wrong address and attempted to sell them online. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Robert Martuszewski, 41, took a package containing t...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Five Tampa Bay area men indicted in what prosecutors describe as a billion-dollar health care scheme

Five Tampa Bay area men indicted in what prosecutors describe as a billion-dollar health care scheme

Five local men are wrapped up in what federal prosecutors are calling a billion-dollar telemedicine rip off.Starting in 2015, the men and their pharmacy companies set up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance coverage information a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

Plant City Career Academy works to bridge the gap between high school seniors, companies

The program, which raises awareness of post-graduate jobs for students, may expand across the Bay area.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

Southern Airways launching Tampa-to-West Palm Beach flights

TAMPA — Southern Airways Express said Tuesday it will launch air service between Tampa and West Palm Beach on Nov. 8, just three days after another carrier discontinues the route.Southern Airways, the third largest commuter carrier in the nation, is ...
Updated: 1 hour ago