Orlando shooting 911 call transcripts to be released Monday
June 19th, 2016
12:01 PM ET

Orlando shooting 911 call transcripts to be released Monday

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, joined CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, to discuss, the 911 transcripts between the Orlando shooter and the police, if Disney was a potential target and more.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Orlando shooting 911 call transcripts to be released
 
CNN STORY
Lynch: Authorities to release limited transcripts of calls with Orlando shooter
 
 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Lynch on the transcripts between Mateen and the police: [BASH] First, let's start with the news that you're going to deliver tomorrow, these transcripts.  Can you give us a teaser of what exactly we're going to learn in these transcripts about the killer?  [LYNCH] Well, good morning, Dana, and thank you for having me. Yes, we are going to be releasing tomorrow more information about this investigation.  It's been our goal to get as much information into the public domain as possible, so people can understand, as we do, possibly what motivated this killer, what led him to this place, and also provide us with information. So, tomorrow, we will be releasing limited transcripts of the calls between the killer and the Orlando P.D. negotiators in the nightclub that night. [BASH]  And what will the transcripts tell us? [LYNCH]  They will talk about what he told law enforcement on the ground as the events were unfolding. [BASH]  And what did he tell them?  [LYNCH]  You know, as we have said earlier, he talked about his pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group.  He talked about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act. He talked about American policy in some ways.  The reason why we're going to limit these transcripts is to avoid revictimizing those who went through this horror.  But it will contain the substance of his conversations.  And there were three conversations between this killer and negotiators. [BASH]  And he was, of course, in a gay nightclub.  Did he talk about his feelings about gay Americans? [LYNCH]  You know, he didn't get into that.  And so we're still exploring why he chose this particular place to attack.  We're asking people who have information to come forward.  People have.  We greatly appreciate that. We are trying to learn everything we can about this individual's motivations.  As you note, he was in a gay nightclub.  This was an act of terror and an act of hate, targeted against a community, the LGBT community, the Latino community.  And, of course, the LGBT community is so far - far too often the victim of these types of crimes. 

Lynch on if she believes Disney could have been a potential target: [BASH] OK.  Let me ask you about a place that all of America and the world is familiar with, and that's Disney. According to a law enforcement official, the Orlando killer visited Disney Springs the beginning of this month, just a couple of weeks ago, and also may have visited Disney World in April. Do you believe that the shooter had Disney in his sights as a potential target? [LYNCH]  You know, we don't know the answer to that right now.  That is, of course, one of the things that we are trying to determine.  Were there any other locations he was focused on, but, also, why did he pick this particular location?  Why did he target the LGBT community, and on - particularly on Latin night? Are there connections to that as well?  Because, of course, those are two communities that are often victimized by crimes of hate, which, of course, this - this also included.  So, we're trying to find out everything we can about his motivations. 

Lynch responds to Michael Hayden’s comments about “political correctness” influencing investigations: Is that a concern that you have seen and you have heard or that you particularly have, too much political correctness to be able to investigate? [LYNCH]  Well, I can tell you - I can tell you how we handle these investigations now. We handle these investigations by looking into anything, everything, and everyone.  But that also includes reaching out to the Muslim community for information that they may have.  In many of the investigations that we do involving individuals who have been radicalized here or individuals that we learn of overseas, a lot of the information that we gain is from the Muslim community. So, what I would say is that, certainly, we investigate these cases aggressively.  No stone is left unturned.  There is no backing away from an issue, there is no backing away from an interview because of anyone's background, because, for us, the source of information is very, very important. And what I will say, though, is that it is very important for to us maintain our contacts within the Muslim community, because, often, individuals, if they're from that community and they're being radicalized, their friends and family members will see it first.  They will see activity first.  And we want that information to come to us. Also, those communities are targeted as well.  They are often swept up in this.  And so we want to make sure that every community in the United States knows that they are under our protection. 
 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  It has been a somber week in Orlando, funerals all weekend for the 49 killed in last Sunday's horrific attack at Pulse nightclub.

Two sheriff's deputies on motorcycles were injured while escorting one of the processions, hit by what police called an impatient driver.  Orlando is expecting 20,000 people to march in a candlelight walk tonight following a memorial service for the victims.

The Justice Department says, tomorrow, they will release a timeline and limited transcript of the conversation between the killer and police, this as authorities continue to try to piece together a picture of the murderer's last moments and his own motivations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The investigation is ongoing, but we know that the killer was an angry and disturbed individual who took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet and became radicalized.

During his killing spree, he pledged allegiance to ISIL, a group that's called on people around the world to attack innocent civilians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  And with me now here is Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Thank you so much for coming in.

First, let's start with the news that you're going to deliver tomorrow, these transcripts.  Can you give us a teaser of what exactly we're going to learn in these transcripts about the killer?

LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  Well, good morning, Dana, and thank you for having me.

Yes, we are going to be releasing tomorrow more information about this investigation.  It's been our goal to get as much information into the public domain as possible, so people can understand, as we do, possibly what motivated this killer, what led him to this place, and also provide us with information.

So, tomorrow, we will be releasing limited transcripts of the calls between the killer and the Orlando P.D. negotiators in the nightclub that night.

BASH:  And what will the transcripts tell us?

LYNCH:  They will talk about what he told law enforcement on the ground as the events were unfolding.

BASH:  And what did he tell them?

LYNCH:  You know, as we have said earlier, he talked about his pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group.  He talked about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act.

He talked about American policy in some ways.  The reason why we're going to limit these transcripts is to avoid revictimizing those who went through this horror.  But it will contain the substance of his conversations.  And there were three conversations between this killer and negotiators.

BASH:  And he was, of course, in a gay nightclub.  Did he talk about his feelings about gay Americans?

LYNCH:  You know, he didn't get into that.  And so we're still exploring why he chose this particular place to attack.  We're asking people who have information to come forward.  People have.  We greatly appreciate that.

We are trying to learn everything we can about this individual's motivations.  As you note, he was in a gay nightclub.  This was an act of terror and an act of hate, targeted against a community, the LGBT community, the Latino community.  And, of course, the LGBT community is so far - far too often the victim of these types of crimes.

BASH:  Let's talk about some of the events leading up to this.

The owner of the gun shop where the Orlando killer tried to buy level three body armor, bulk ammo, several weeks before the shooting, this owner says that his staff saw that the behavior of the shooter was suspicious, and they notified authorities.  Listen to the - what the gun shop owner said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT ABELL, CO-OWNER, LOTUS GUNWORKS: At that time, he declined any business and he left the store.  We had no link, no contact.  We had - didn't know who he was, but we did contact authorities and let them know we just had a suspicious person that was in here, which we have been in regular contact with them.  And any time any event happens, we reach out immediately.  And there was nothing that would come of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  So, why wasn't more done by the authorities to follow up on those suspicions that were reported?

LYNCH:  Well, at the gun shop owner indicated, during the course of an - actually an unrelated investigation, they were speaking with authorities.  And in the course of their discussions, they did provide information about this individual, whom we now know to be the Orlando killer, coming into their shop to talk about purchases.

As was noted, because no purchases were made, no I.D. was gathered, no identifying information was available beyond the information, which was recorded and which was kept.

That's exactly what that gun shop owner should have done, and we thank and commend him for that.  He then realized after, of course, the tragic events of last weekend, exactly who had been in his shop, and called FBI.  And, again, we were able to put those pieces together.

Because no purchase was made, there was nothing to identify who it was.  There was nothing to say a name or an address.  But, again, we are asking everyone to look back at any contact they have had with this killer and do what this gun shop owner did and report it to us.

BASH:  He did.  He did exactly what you're supposed to do.  If you see something, say something.  He might not have got the I.D., but if he was that alarmed that he called the authorities, can you tell us, did the authorities try to figure out who he was?

LYNCH:  Well, what I can say is that this is all part of the investigation that is ongoing now.  Everything that we're learning about this individual is being looked at, is being reviewed.  All of the FBI's contacts with the killer over the past years are being reviewed.  We're going back and scrubbing all of that.

BASH:  OK.

And, on that note, when the Orlando killer was first questioned by the FBI for possible terror ties, he worked at an armed security guard company called G4S.  The company says that the FBI never notified them that he was being investigated at all.

Wouldn't you think that would be important information for any employer, but specifically since he worked for a security company?

LYNCH:  Well, you know, I can't get into the specifics of that.

What I can say is that he, in fact, came under the FBI scrutiny because his co-workers were concerned about things that he was saying.  So, the information that led to the investigation actually came from his co-workers.  He was - he was under investigation at that time.

BASH:  So, did the company know, then?

LYNCH:  He was - he was - well, I can't speak to what they knew at that time.  And, again, we are going back and looking at everything that we did in our investigation of the killer, in our subsequent contact with him, but also all the information that we are receiving, to try and learn his motivations.

This was an act of terror and an act of hate.  I'm going to Orlando on Tuesday to continue to get briefings on this matter, to get briefings on the ground from the investigators, the first responders, and to meet with the victims and talk about our ongoing support for local law enforcement and the victims.

BASH:  Let me ask you about his wife.  She had apparently seen violent changes in her husband's behavior.  He told her about his interest in carrying out a jihadist attack.

And we now know that she - she called and texted with her husband during the actual shootings.  And he made sure that she had access to bank accounts and other important documents.

Do you expect that a grand jury is going to make a determination that she should face charges?

LYNCH:  Well, because this investigation is open and ongoing, we're not commenting on anyone else's role in it right now, except to say that we are talking to everyone who knew him, and that, of course, includes his family, to determine what they knew, what they saw in the days and weeks leading up to this.

But we're not going to comment on anyone else's role in it at this point in time, because it is an open and ongoing investigation.

BASH:  But it's possible she could face charges?

LYNCH:  We're not going to discuss who may or may not face charges, because, again, this investigation is still in the early stages.  We are still gathering information.  And we're still seeking to talk to everyone who had contact with this killer.

BASH:  OK.  Let me ask you about a place that all of America and the world is familiar with, and that's Disney.

According to a law enforcement official, the Orlando killer visited Disney Springs the beginning of this month, just a couple of weeks ago, and also may have visited Disney World in April.

Do you believe that the shooter had Disney in his sights as a potential target?

LYNCH:  You know, we don't know the answer to that right now.  That is, of course, one of the things that we are trying to determine.  Were there any other locations he was focused on, but, also, why did he pick this particular location?  Why did he target the LGBT community, and on - particularly on Latin night?

Are there connections to that as well?  Because, of course, those are two communities that are often victimized by crimes of hate, which, of course, this - this also included.  So, we're trying to find out everything we can about his motivations.

BASH:  Let me ask you about a discussion that has been going on for some time, but especially now, and that is the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim community in sensitive cases.

And I want to play something for you that the former CIA director and National Security Agency head Michael Hayden said right here about an investigation that they were doing of Army Major Nidal Hasan, who, of course, murdered 13 people in 2009 at Fort Hood.

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN (RET.), FORMER NSA DIRECTOR:  I think the Army backed away from this - for want of a better term, I will use yours, political correctness.  They didn't want to bite off the issue that they might have gotten into had they gone after Hasan, given his - his religious leanings.

I - I think we - we clearly did not do some things that - that we should have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  Is that a concern that you have seen and you have heard or that you particularly have, too much political correctness to be able to investigate?

LYNCH:  Well, I can tell you - I can tell you how we handle these investigations now.

We handle these investigations by looking into anything, everything, and everyone.  But that also includes reaching out to the Muslim community for information that they may have.  In many of the investigations that we do involving individuals who have been radicalized here or individuals that we learn of overseas, a lot of the information that we gain is from the Muslim community.

So, what I would say is that, certainly, we investigate these cases aggressively.  No stone is left unturned.  There is no backing away from an issue, there is no backing away from an interview because of anyone's background, because, for us, the source of information is very, very important.

And what I will say, though, is that it is very important for to us maintain our contacts within the Muslim community, because, often, individuals, if they're from that community and they're being radicalized, their friends and family members will see it first.  They will see activity first.  And we want that information to come to us.

Also, those communities are targeted as well.  They are often swept up in this.  And so we want to make sure that every community in the United States knows that they are under our protection.

BASH:  Attorney General Loretta Lynch, thank you so much for your time.  Appreciate it.

LYNCH:  Thank you, Dana.

###END INTERVIEW###


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