Survivor describes moment officers looking for Pulse gunman fired at him

State Attorney's Office confirmed what Norman Casiano previously told News 6

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two Orlando police officers fired their rifles at a survivor inside the Pulse nightclub, thinking he might have been the shooter, according to a shooting report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Norman Casiano told News 6 soon after the Pulse shooting on June 12, 2016, that officers had shot at him. More than 50 people were injured, and 49 people were killed.

On Wednesday, more than two years after the shooting, the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office confirmed Casiano's account during a press conference.

"There were gunshots flying left and right from the bathroom," Casiano said. "It was intense."

The shots fired toward Casiano happened during three of five "engagements" when law enforcement officers fired their weapons, Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra said.

"Two officers from the position of No. 3 fire their rifles at that person," Barra said Wednesday walking through all incidents where officers fired their weapons.

At that point, Barra said the Pulse gunman had already gone on a rampage through the club just after 2 a.m., shooting dozens of people on the dance floor and even more in the club's north and south bathrooms.

The gunman shot Casiano twice when he came back to the south bathroom "and shot over and under the stalls," Barra said.

Law enforcement officers entered the building moments after the gunman entered the bathrooms.

Casiano said when he got the chance, he made a run for it, but when he made it to the bathroom door, he said he was met by officers. He said he could barely stand and couldn't raise his arms.

"I remember them yelling, like 'Victim or assailant? Put your hands up,'" Casiano said. "I remember saying, 'I can't. I can't.' I guess since I took too long putting my hands up, maybe that's when gunshots came."

According to Barra, two officers fired a total of four shots with rifles at Casiano, but both officers missed.

"I was between a rock and a hard place. Like my mom said, it was a big miracle that I didn't pass away that day," Casiano said. "The same way I felt in such a hectic situation must have been the same way the law enforcement felt."

Orlando police and Orange County deputies killed the gunman after 5 a.m. in a final exchange of gunfire.

After reviewing the final FDLE report, the State Attorney's Office determined that none of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims were hit, wounded or killed by friendly fire of the more than 180 rounds of gunfire from police and deputies.

Barra said all 14 law enforcement officers who fired their weapons responding to the mass shooting were cleared after a shoot review by the State Attorney's Office. 

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