‘We are used to this:’ Worker describes Orlando shooting ahead of security changes

Avery Batistine said he was working near Orange Avenue when shots went off Sunday morning

A man who was working Sunday morning near where the downtown Orlando shooting took place spoke with News 6 about his thoughts regarding the city’s response.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A man who was working Sunday morning near where the downtown Orlando shooting took place spoke with News 6 about his experience and thoughts regarding the city’s response.

Avery Batistine, a worker at Pipe & Pouch Smoke Shop, said he was working when gunfire erupted on Orange Avenue. He told News 6 that a crowd of people ran inside the shop, looking for cover.

“We are used to this situation at this point now,” Batistine said. “It was just kind of random, actually. The shop itself was already busy, and then, all of a sudden, people were just running. People ran into the store, ran into the back.”

Monday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced an increase in security checkpoints for downtown Orlando on Friday and Saturday nights.

A spokeswoman for the city of Orlando said police, K-9 units and hired private security guards will be stationed at six checkpoint locations in a four-block stretch along Orange Avenue.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Monday said the city will implement the access point plan, typically used during holiday events to limit how people can enter the downtown area, on Fridays and Saturdays to help curb violence. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

City officials said the locations have been used in the past on holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo to limit how people can enter the downtown area and help curb violence.

Batistine said the increased law enforcement presence will help make people in the area feel more comfortable.

“I feel like that would actually help lock down — you know, try to keep not people away but safe, at least,” he said.

City leaders said anyone with a concealed carry permit cannot be stopped from carrying a firearm into the secured area.

Orlando police said they are still looking for the suspected shooter and are asking the public for tips about Sunday’s shooting. No arrests have yet been made.


About the Authors:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.