ORLANDO, Fla. - The city of Orlando on Tuesday released several public records in connection with the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 49 dead and 53 others injured.
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"The city of Orlando is working to respond to the hundreds of Public Records Act requests which were made following the Pulse tragedy," the city said on its website. "The city values transparency, but must ensure that the release of records complies with the many Florida law exemptions designed to protect the privacy of the victims and the integrity of the investigation."
The released records include text messages made and received by the Orlando police chief, fire chief and fire marshal and police and dispatch records.
The records show that one of the exits at the gay nightclub was inoperable weeks before the massacre, but they also document that the club had twice the number of exits needed to accommodate its maximum occupancy of 300 patrons.
Shortly after the shooting, officials said there were 320 people inside the club, but it's unclear if the establishment was over-capacity at the time of the shooting.
An email exchange between Orlando Fire Marshall Tammy Hughes and Fire Chief Roderick Williams says that the last fire inspection was conducted in late May. A follow-up visit was planned but hadn't yet been assigned so it wasn't known if the problem with the exit was fixed.
Pulse's attorney released a statement, saying, in part, "There is a door to the outside that is not used by anyone, whether they be employees or patrons. That door is in a room behind the bar where patrons are not allowed. That door is not an exit door."
No 911 calls are included in the release. A preliminary hearing on Tuesday will lay out ground rules for another hearing later this week on the fight between media companies and the city over whether the 911 calls can be made public.
The media lawsuit contends city officials are wrongly withholding recordings of 911 calls and communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department. City officials claim the recordings are exempt under Florida law.
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