The television news producer is opening up about a conversation he had with someone who claimed he was Omar Mateen, the man who went on a shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub.
“I was receiving phone calls from viewers saying, ‘What’s going on? What’s happening? What’s happening in Orlando?” said Matthew Gentili, a producer at TV station Central Florida News 13.
Just 45 minutes after the shooting began, Gentili picked up another call.
“I will never forget the words he said to me,” he said.
The voice claimed to be claimed to be Mateen and asked if Gentili knew about the shooting, which was just a few blocks away from the station.
“I’m the shooter. It’s me. I am the shooter,” the producer recounted the man saying.
The man went on to say he did it for ISIS before he started speaking in Arabic.
Gentili said there was a long pause before he asked one final question: “Is there anything else you want to say?”
Mateen said “No,” and hung up.
Gentili was later interviewed by the FBI, which has not confirmed if Gentili was actually speaking to the gunman.
“I’m definitely changed,” Gentili said. “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.”
The station’s managing editor researched the phone number that called Gentili, and it matched to Omar Mateen, the station reports.