The first officer on the scene of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando was an extra-duty police officer who engaged in a gun battle with Omar Mateen and his AR-15 assault rifle, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday morning. When more officers responded, Mateen eventually retreated to a bathroom, where he took about 30 hostages. Mateen negotiated with police while remaining “cool and calm,” Mina said. “He really wasn’t asking for a whole lot. We were the ones doing the asking.”
“Based on statements made by the suspect and statements received from the hostages, we believed that further loss of life was imminent,” Mina continued. But the explosives did not penetrate the wall completely, so an armored vehicle was needed to rescue “dozens and dozens” of people who crawled through the hole. “The suspect came out of the hole himself and engaged in a gun battle with officers, where he was ultimately killed,” he added. “Law enforcement acted heroically and saved many many lives. One officer was struck in the Kevlar helmet right above his forehead.” That officer is “doing great,” the chief noted.
U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said that other people are being investigated in connection to the crime—widely considered the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country—but that authorities believe there is no “imminent danger” to the community.