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Pulse Update: Slow Police Response May Have Cost Lives

Pulse Update: Slow Police Response May Have Cost Lives

Pulse Shooting

The Washington Post report shows strong evidence that police delay proved fatal for several club-goers.

The actions of the Orlando police were called into question again in a Washington Post article which compiled data from eyewitness and public records, and which shows that the slow response of police may have cost victims their lives.

Once the reports of gunfire ended around 2:17 a.m. on the night of June 12, Mateen was holed up in a restroom, alongside a handful of victims. According to witnesses, during the standoff -- which lasted almost three hours -- individuals with multiple gunshot wounds were bleeding out in the bathroom while Mateen googled for news about the shooting and held multiple conversations with law enforcement officials. Law enforcement officials declined to act, since the shooting had stopped, and they operated under the protocol of a barricaded gunman.

Police only decided to act when escaping victims told them that Mateen had threatened to strap bomb vests on victims. At that point, police tried and failed to breach the wall of the club using explosives, an attempt that alerted Mateen to police efforts and spurred him to shoot several more people.

Tiara Paker, who was in the bathroom at the time, told the Post: "We were already at great risk, but . . . they [the police] made it worse. They put us at more risk."

When the police finally did break down the wall using an armored vehicle, they picked the wrong spot. It took a third attempt before they broke the wall in a place that allowed any victims to escape. This was at 5:14 a.m. Mateen had fired the first shots at 2:02 a.m.

Though officials do not have an exact number, witnesses and the families of victims put the number of people who died as a result of the prolonged standoff to be somewhere between two and five, or more. Officials have also stayed mum on whether there were any innocent bystanders mistakenly killed by law enforcement during the shoot-out with Mateen.

At the request of the Orlando Police Department, the Justice Department is reviewing the police response.

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