ORLANDO, Fla. - More than two years after a gunman opened fire inside Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people, a new report shows that the 14 law enforcement officers who fired their weapons in response acted properly and no civilians were injured by friendly fire.
The announcement on Wednesday cleared those officers of wrongdoing, verifying that they did not shoot any Pulse patrons when they fired more than 180 rounds during five separate engagements with gunman Omar Mateen on June 12, 2016.
Local leaders reacted to the news on Wednesday, many of them expressing gratitude to the first responders who took down the gunman.
Below is a list of their unedited statements about the report. This article will be updated as more replies are received.
onePULSE Foundation executive director Barbara Poma
“The findings of today’s State Attorney’s Office report brings a close to law enforcements’ efforts to understand the events of June 12, 2016. We are thankful to the State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the work that they have done. But as this chapter closes, we know that the families, survivors, first responders, the community of Orlando, and the LGBTQ community will never forget the 49 lives taken that night. As we continue through our journey of mourning and loss, we will also work to help people understand that hate and violence are never the answer. We will continue to honor the 49 Angels and tell their story. We will never let hate win.”
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings
“As Orange County Mayor and former Sheriff, I offer thanks to State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra for completing their review of law enforcement’s use of force on June 12, 2016 at the Pulse nightclub. Investigators reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance footage and body-cam video, completed countless interviews and examined a vast collection of evidence to ensure a fair use of force conclusion in the incident. While I am pleased to know that law enforcement performed admirably when they responded, I am still saddened by the loss of the 49 innocent souls and the pain that their family, friends and our extended Pulse community will endure for the rest of their lives.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
"We can never erase the hateful act of terror that visited Orlando and took the lives of 49 innocent people from us on the morning of June 12, 2016. As a City, we continue to support the victims’ families, survivors, first responders and our community that has been forever changed since that day.
"Through this thorough and independent investigation by the State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s Office, it is even more apparent that Pulse was an unimaginable tragedy, and it is also now even more clear that when faced with this horrific act, our Orlando police officers acted with unimaginable bravery and courage.
"I’d like to thank and recognize all the men and women of OPD and all of our partner federal, state and local law enforcement officers who responded to the Pulse shooting and risked their lives to save the lives of others and end this horrific act of hate. Thank you for your actions that day and for the job you do every single day to serve our community.
"Throughout this tragedy, all of our Orlando stood together. Today, we continue to remain strong and united, supporting each other and working to constantly shine a beacon of love, hope and understanding on our darkest day in history.
"If you, or anyone you know may need help or are not sure where to turn, please reach out, anytime, to our Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC) at 407-500-HOPE. Our advocates and mental health providers are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days week to help."
Orange County Sheriff John Mina
Mina was at the news conference Wednesday when the findings were announced. Watch his remarks below.
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