Psychiatrist: Pulse first responder 'permanently disabled'

Independent PTSD evaluation issued to OPD board

ORLANDO, Fla. – ​One year after the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting OPD first responder Gerry Realin has been deemed “permanently and totally disabled” by an independent psychiatrist assigned by the Orlando Police Pension Board.

The findings come just days after the Police Department advised Realin that his final pay check would be issued next week forcing him to sell everything from an old TV to a 1970 family boat to make ends meet.

In an email to WKMG-TV News 6, OPD police Chief John Mina wrote that the “Orlando Police Department remains committed to assisting Officer Realin in his continued recovery…” As far as his benefits Mina wrote, “Those limits have been met.”

The 37-year-old veteran officer, one of seven assigned to remove the dead from the Pulse building, was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder following his assignment to the nightclub and according to his treating physicians has been unable to return to work in any capacity.

Late Thursday afternoon his wife Jessica received an email from the pension board advising her of
the latest findings based on a psychiatric evaluation conducted on June 16.

In the summary the doctor concludes that Gerry Realin …"be declared disabled from any kind of police work.”
“Mr. Realin is permanently and totally disabled unfit to work," the doctor writes,….”and has been unfit for over the last year.”

Hours earlier, Realin’s wife Jessica told News 6 that Orlando police Capt. Vincent Ogburn had issued a letter on Monday advising her that her husband’s salary benefits would stop.

Realin has been receiving full benefits since June 16, 2016, but according to OPD top brass his “personal leave benefits” were depleted effective June 22, 2017.

“We have $218 to our name right now," Realin told News 6. “Gerry’s last paycheck will be for 50 hours, 25 hours for the last two weeks.”

The mother of two has been fighting to convince state lawmakers to pass a workman’s comp law that would provide financial coverage for first responders diagnosed with PTSD.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account. To learn more, visit​

State Sen. Victor Torres of Kissimmee, a former New York City cop who is sponsoring a first responder measure said the city decision just “isn’t right.”

“You can fall on polices all that you want. Torres told News 6, but the real gut, the real heart is you take care of your own.”

Today’s findings could lead to the approval of a permanent disability pension by the police pension board.

Mrs. Realin said that was the fifth evaluation ordered by the city but that she is very “relieved” and hopeful her family can finally move on to “the next chapter in our life.”

The board meeting is set for July 13 at 9:30 a.m. at Orlando City Hall.​

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.