Fort Lauderdale police, gunman exchange fire in hotel after phony ‘murder’ 911 text, bodycam shows

A police officer yelled, “I’m hit. I’m hit pretty good,” as a barrage of gun blasts echoed on the sixth floor of a Florida hotel.

Fort Lauderdale police received a “911 text” at 7:39 a.m. on March 21 from a hotel guest who said “Murder,” without context, and the caller didn’t respond to law enforcement’s followup attempts to make contact.

By 8:42 a.m., the Holiday Inn was cleared, and responding officers – unsure whether there was another person in the room – ordered the suspect to come out with his hands up, newly released bodycam video shows.

When the door opened, the gunman open fired on a squad of police officers, who were trapped on a cramped hotel floor with no space to take cover.

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The gunman – later identified as Karl Chludinsky – slammed the door, but the gun battle continued through the closed door. 

Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jack DiCristofalo was shot as the hail of gunfire raged. 

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Before the police arrived, 911 dispatch warned responding officers that Chludinsky was rambling, claiming that he was seeing a therapist and his wife was being raped. 

“He is stating that he has fully automated and three handguns with him … Caller says he’s not afraid to kill anyone,” according to dispatch audio. 

Responding units swarmed the hotel, and bodycam footage from different angles showed police barking orders to open the door and come out with hands up. 

Major Patrick Hart, who narrated the bodycam footage, said that Officer DiCristofalo tried to coax the suspect out of his room peacefully. 

DiCristofalo repeatedly yelled, “Come out with your hands up,” as officers in body armor stood behind them, their weapons pointed at the door. 

Chludinsky was on the phone with 911 dispatch, who relayed what the suspect was saying. 

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He “sees the door moving and is about to shoot,” dispatch told the officers, according to the video, which was released after public records requests and uploaded to YouTube Thursday.

Chludinsky’s response was muffled, but it appeared he refused to open the door. When he finally did, he was seen with a gun in his right hand. 

He lowered the weapon, pointed it at the police and opened fire, the bodycam video shows. 

After firing a few times, he hid behind the door and retreated back inside the room. 

The next 15 seconds were a nonstop hail of gunshots, until officers yelled, “I’m out. I’m out.” There was a brief pause in the action as officers reloaded. 

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Officer DiCristofalo said, “I’m hit. I’m hit pretty good.” 

The video switches to DiCristofalo’s vantage point only, which was shown in slow motion as Major Hart describes what was happening.

“The suspect opened the door with a phone in his left hand and a gun in his right,” Hart said. “The suspect brings the gun down towards the officers, and Officer DiCristofalo, with his service-issued rifle, fires at the suspect.”

He yelled, “Gun. Gun. Gun,” and shot at the door, bodycam footage shows. 

“It is important to note that our officers were acting on information that there could potentially be a victim inside the hotel room with the suspect,” Major Hart said. “When officers attempted to make entry, the suspect fired at the officers through the door.”

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The initial gun battle ended, and a SWAT team followed up to break into the room, where they found the gunman dead, according to Hart. 

It’s unclear whether the gunman was killed during the gun battle or died by suicide. 

DiCristofalo was injured, but his vest saved his life. He was treated at a hospital and released the same day, according to police. 

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The state Department of Law Enforcement takes over the investigation, and the three officers who fired their weapons are placed on administrative leave, all of which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

Fox News Digital’s Elyse Perry contributed to this report.