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Orlando police officers discuss Pulse nightclub shooting scene

Officers helped transport victims to hospital from nightclub

ORLANDO, Fla. – Several Orlando police officers who helped transport victims outside Pulse Nightclub, spoke about their experiences on Thursday.

Orlando Tactical Officer James Hyland was nearby, working an off-duty job. Hyland said he was one of the first officers to arrive. Hyland described first treated wounded in the parking lot, and then going inside the nightclub. 

"Once other officers arrived on scene, that's when I entered inside the club, and I still noticed a couple wounded in there and I started pulling them out. Just one after another. Id pull one out, put them behind a car, go right back inside, pull another out. Pull them behind the car," said Highland. "Some of them were calling out and some of them were on the ground reaching their hand in the air, then whatever caught my eye as far as the movement, I just went towards that movement and just grabbed whoever I could," said Hyland.

Hyland used his pickup truck, making the decision that there wasn't enough time to wait for an ambulance. The group of officers made up to 18 trips to Orlando Regional Medical Center, filling the back with as many wounded as possible.

The scene, Hyland describes as worse than a war zone.  

"I've spent two tours in Afghanistan and honestly out of everything that I've been a part of with the military, this by far is the one that takes over any experience that I've had," said Hyland.

Working alongside others who were inside Pulse, but unharmed, the group saved as many lives as they could. The group of officers admit that they put their own safety at risk to help others, all while the gunman continued to make threats of explosives.

"I was honored to help them. Even though I can't unsee what I've seen, I was proud to work with them. I am proud to work with them and I'm honored to help the victims," said Orlando Police Officer Joseph Imburgio.

The group of officers who spoke on Thursday are all back at work, adding that it helps to get back to a normal routine.

Orlando Police had stress debriefings with staff last week, and continue to offer any resources to employees following the Pulse incident.


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