Half of Pulse Dead Killed on Dance Floor

A new review of the police response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, shows that nearly half of the 49 people killed in the June 12 massacre died where they were dancing and had no chance to react. When emergency services finally entered the building, there were so many dead and wounded on the dance floor that one officer asked, “If you’re alive, raise your hand.” The 78-page presentation, given by Orlando Police Chief John Mina to about 10 police groups internationally, admits that authorities should have done some things differently and that officials still don’t know how many civilians, if any, might have been killed by friendly fire. Thirteen victims died in the bathrooms while awaiting help during the three-hour hostage standoff that night. Survivors and families have publicly criticized the police department for choosing not to use explosives to breach the club sooner. Mina has said that decision was made because the shooter, Omar Mateen, told police he strapped bombs to people in all four corners of the club and that he himself was wearing a bomb vest and had an explosive-packed vehicle in the parking lot. No explosives were ever found in the club. Mina also notes that Orlando law-enforcement teams should have coordinated with local fire departments on duty, who were not aware that officials would be using explosives until after they were detonated. “Would that have saved any more lives? No. The people who needed care got care,” Mina said. “But the communication would have been better between our two agencies if someone from the fire department would have been in our command post.”