Orlando Police have released 11 hours of body-cam footage from inside the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub last June.
Pulse became the site of the most lethal mass shooting in U.S. history after Omar Mateen opened fire at the popular gay club
, killing 49, on June 11 last year.
been given access to the previously-unseen footage for a programme marking the one year anniversary of the attack.
The footage itself contains images of the scene at the club when the first officers arrived, and the confusion that emerged as they tended to the injured and tried to figure out what was happening.
Roger Brennan, who was the police department's commander at the scene, said: “Several of us commented that this was gonna change the city forever, and probably change what we do forever.”
Kyle Medvetz was one of the first officers on the scene. Remembering the night of the shooting, he said: “A person reached up and asked for help, but at that point we didn’t know where the shooter was, if he was detained, if he was deceased, or what was going on. So as much as I wanted to help, I could not help him until we know for sure the shooter was detained, contained or deceased.”
Chief John Mina, who oversaw the three-hour standoff with Mateen, defended the decision to avoid storming the building with the shooter inside. “During that whole three hours, we were in there saving people from the dance floor, from dressing rooms, from the other bathroom,” Mina said. “We took 22 people out of the front bathroom. Once we were inside that club, there were no more gunshots until the final assault.”
He continued: “I was very proud of the police response, but still, you know, this person went in and killed 49 of our community members,” he said. “And so as a community, we were devastated.”
Warning: the following video contains images and audio which some readers may find distressing.
James Hyland, an Orlando police officer, turned his personal pick-up truck into a makeshift ambulance to treat those who had been injured. “We didn’t have any ambulances or anything there. He just started loading people up,” Hyland said. “And he was just going back and forth, doing one run after another, after another, after another.”
Jahqui Sevilla, who was at Pulse with a group of friends that night, told ABC that she was in a "great mood" on the evening of June 12. “We were in the club dancing. It was, like, one of the best nights I had — that turned into the worst day of my life.”
Two of Jahqui's friends were shot in Mateen's attack, one fatally. “He had a gunshot wound to his chest,” she said. “That’s when I saw that he was injured. He was nonresponsive.”
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