Video: The moment the shooting began

The woman who comes into frame for a close-up at the end of the clip is 25-year-old Amanda Alvear, who was recording her night out at Pulse and auto-uploading it to Snapchat. She didn’t make it out alive. I read somewhere yesterday that an eyewitness inside the club couldn’t tell at first that those bangs you’ll hear were gunshots; the music was loud enough that he thought they might be part of the beat. He must have been standing farther away from the shooter than Alvear was because it’s chillingly plain what they are here.

People on Twitter are asking a good question. How did this standoff go on for three hours?

2 a.m. ET to 5 a.m. ET. Law enforcement and the shooter engage in three-hour standoff, with the assailant holding hostages.

Updates and pleas for help from frightened patrons, many hiding in a restroom, trapped in the club were zapped out to police, friends and the world via text messages and social media, such as Twitter…

Law enforcement officials say there was “some communication” with assailant, but would not provide details. “Once the initial shots stopped we were dealing with a hostage situation,” Mina said in a press conference.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says authorities learned through text messages from hostages in the club that between five and eight hostages were with the shooter in a room, while 15 to 25 others were in another room elsewhere in the nightclub.

The shooting began at 2:02 a.m. Eddie Justice, a clubgoer, ended up trapped in a bathroom with Mateen as one of his hostages but was able to text his mother sporadically between 2:06 and 2:50, when he sent his last message. At some point between then and 5 a.m., when SWAT finally broke through the wall of the club “once information from hostages and the suspect suggested ‘further loss of life was imminent,'” Justice was murdered. But when? Were there new gunshots before 5 suggesting that Mateen had resumed his rampage? It’s an impossible situation for the cops: If they break into the club and Mateen starts shooting hostages in a panic, they’ll be second-guessed for not waiting him out, but if they wait him out and he starts shooting hostages, they’ll be second-guessed for not breaking in. Here’s a safe prediction, though. The next time a jihadbot opens fire inside a building, SWAT won’t wait — which, I think, is probably the right move. Chances are, if you’re popping off round after round into a crowd in a confined space, you’re not too inclined to negotiate.

According to FBI Director James Comey, Mateen called 911 three times between 2 a.m. and 5. During the calls he pledged allegiance to ISIS, mentioned the Boston bombings, and apparently referenced the other degenerate from his hometown of Fort Pierce who went off to Syria to become a suicide bomber.