In order to provide an update on the progress of the investigation into the Pulse nightclub shooting, the FBI released an excerpt from the timeline of events inside the Pulse nightclub during the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016. Out of respect for the victims of this horrific tragedy, law enforcement announced they will not be releasing audio of the shooter’s 911 calls at this time, nor will law enforcement be releasing audio or transcripts of the calls made by victims at the Pulse nightclub during the incident. As more information is provided, many questions still remain about what really happened during the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Judge Andrew Napolitano raised eyebrows when he said on FOX News that an FBI summary indicated that no one died until 5:13AM Sunday morning when the police SWAT teams entered the building. “Here’s what is news in the summary – nobody died until 5:13 in the morning, when the SWAT team entered. Prior to that no one had been killed. The 53 that were injured, and the 49 that were murdered all met their fates at the time of, and during, the police entry into the building,” Judge Napolitano said.
While Napolitano’s comments seem like a far stretch from the FBI transcript (see below), Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Mayor Buddy Dyer already confirmed the possibility that some victims may have been killed by officers in statements made last month. “I will say this, that’s all part of the investigation,” Mina said. “But I will say when our SWAT officers, about eight or nine officers, opened fire, the backdrop was a concrete wall, and they were being fired upon.”
Within two minutes of the attack, officers were responding on the scene. At 2:08AM, officers entered the club and “engaged the shooter.” At least one responding police officer reported that police were told not to pursue the Orlando shooter for “15 or 20 minutes — could’ve been longer” until SWAT arrived. According to the Washington Post, Belle Isle police officer Brandon Cornwell said the ad-hoc team spent the first seconds inside “trying to locate exactly where the shooter was — we kept hearing people scream and shots fired.” Cornwell was one of the first seven or so police cars to arrive on the scene, he said.
“There happens to be an OPD lieutenant commander who was there, and he says we’ve got to go in,” said Cornwell. “No one disagreed. One of the officers busted out one of those side windows” — it was approximately 10 feet tall — “and we just went in and went from there.”
Within minutes, officers inside the club located shooter Omar Mateen in the bathroom and it was then that the “15 or 20 minute” holding pattern began. According to Cornwell, officers were told to hold their position rather than attempt to go after the shooter. As officers waited for SWAT, screams and panic continued in the club as officers remained under orders to be in a “holding position.” Then, officers were told to withdraw and let SWAT handle it from there. Hours would pass before the ordeal would come to an end.
According to the timeline and Orlando police Chief John Mina, that initial confrontation with the shooter was the last time shots were fired inside the club until nearly three hours later when police used explosives to blow a hole in the club’s wall and an armored vehicle to enter the club. By 5:15AM, Mateen was dead, according to authorities.
Here’s the latest from the FBI update: