Any deaths caused by police fire as they battled Omar Mateen inside the Pulse nightclub in the wee hours of June 12 should be blamed on Mateen and not on the responding officers, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Monday.
“Those killings are on the suspect and on the suspect alone, in my mind,” Mina said.
Forty-nine people, plus the 29-year-old Mateen, died in the mayhem, and 53 others were wounded.
The question of possible deaths by police fire arose soon after the shootings. One survivor, Norman Casiano, 26, told ABC News that he was shot by police when he crawled out from his hiding place in the bathroom after he thought it was safe.
In a redacted transcript released Monday, the FBI revealed that there was no gunfire detected inside the club from shortly after 2:08 a.m., when “officers from various law enforcement agencies made entrance to Pulse and engaged the shooter,” to around 5:14 a.m., when Orlando Police Department “radio communication stated that shots were fired.”
“Based on OPD radio communications, there were no reports of shots being fired inside Pulse between the initial exchange of gunfire between responding officers and the shooter, and the time of the final breach,” the FBI synopsis said.
The initial FBI release condensed more than three hours of police activity into less than two pages.
Mina made his comment about possible friendly-fire deaths during a news conference following the release of the redacted transcript. He said that although the investigation was ongoing and that police bullets still needed to be accounted for, that the “killings are all on the suspect.”