Newly released communications records from the Orange County, FL Sheriff’s Department raise new questions about why it took nearly three hours to stop the terror attack at the Pulse nightclub earlier this month in Orlando.
The Sheriff’s department dispatch logs released on Thursday provide a detailed timeline about what responding law enforcement agencies knew about the situation as it unfolded. The first report of the shooting went out to deputies at approximately 2:05 a.m., approximately three minutes after it is believed the shooting began, and by about 2:12 a.m. they began receiving notifications about injured persons barricaded inside the club.
At approximately 2:18 a.m., deputies reported the gun sounded like a long rifle and within one minute they were told to “hold hard cover”and a notification was sent out warning them that the protective shields could not stop rifle rounds. Shortly after it was reported that the shooter was contained in the back of the club and deputies requested that fire department personnel come up to assist them in pulling victims out the front.
Despite multiple calls and pleas for help from injured victims inside over the next two hours, law enforcement personnel did not maneuver into the back of the club until after 5:00 a.m. Dispatchers reported a call from one victim who was “losing feeling in her arm” and expressed concern that she would bleed out if not rescued soon.
At around 2:51 a.m. deputies appear to have received the first warning from the Orlando Police Department that the shooter also possibly had explosives. This seems to be a turning point in the operation and almost certainly played a large role in why it took so long to bring the incident to its conclusion. Additionally, Orlando Police Chief John Mina has said there were no shots fired by the shooter after 2:18 a.m., at least until a SWAT team stormed the club after 5:00 a.m. Although, the sheriff’s dispatch logs do show at least one caller reported possibly hearing additional gunshots around 2:30 a.m.
Chief Mina has repeatedly defended the actions of law enforcement personnel in responding to the attack, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed by SWAT team personnel around 5:15 a.m. The attack killed 49 people and injured an additional 53, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.