News (USA)

First responders describe gory scene at Pulse nightclub upon entry

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Authorities had just breached the wall to the Pulse nightclub, and patrons who had been trapped inside with gunman Omar Mateen started to flee. SWAT team members carried a man with four gunshots in his legs, hip and shoulder to Officer Luke Austin. The man was bleeding profusely.

Austin grabbed him and said, “Stay with me, keep fighting!!! We will get you to safety, stay with us!”

Moments later, Mateen started firing at SWAT team members who fired back, killing him.

Austin’s account is among dozens of narratives in supplemental police reports released Tuesday that give greater details about the Orlando police response to last month’s massacre of 49 patrons at the Pulse gay nightclub, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The officers who recount their role in the reports were the initial responders to a call from a fellow officer who was working security when Mateen began firing in the club.

The City of Orlando, at the request of the FBI, has refused to release audio recordings of Mateen talking to Orlando police dispatchers or 911 calls pertaining to the massacre.

About two dozen news media organizations including The Associated Press are fighting in court to have the audio recordings released. The news outlets argue that the release of the recordings will help the public to understand Mateen’s motive and evaluate the police response.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a federal court filing that the recordings are federal records and not subject to Florida’s public records law.

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