During a news conference on Monday, Orlando Police Chief John Mina provided details on the firefight that occurred between Orlando police and Omar Mateen.
According to Mina, there was an off-duty, uniformed officer already inside of the Pulse nightclub at the time of the incident. At around 2 a.m., the officer responded to the shots fired by Mateen inside of the club.
The additional officers who showed up to the club engaged in a gun battle with Mateen while attempting to enter the space.
A quick decision was made by Mina to protect the reported hostages inside of the club, based on information communicated to him from those who had previously been inside. Mina stated that the Orlando police department believed that “further loss of life was imminent.”
After punching a hole “two or three feet wide” in the wall approximately two feet off of the ground with a BearCat (armored vehicle), officers were able to access more hostages inside.
Mateen exited the hole after several hostages with a handgun and a long gun. He engaged in battle with the officers outside of the hole “where he was ultimately killed.”
You can read some of Mina’s televised comments below:
We had an extra duty, off-duty officer working for Pulse nightclub in full police uniform. At about 2 o’clock he responded to shots fired. He did engage in a gun battle with the suspect somewhere near one of the entrances. Shortly after that, additional officers responded. Those additional officers made entry while the suspect was shooting, engaged in another gun battle with the suspect, forced him to stop shooting, and retreat to the bathroom where we believe he had several hostages. At that time, we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people who were injured and not-injured, and get them out of the club…
Based on information we received from the suspect and from the hostages and people inside, we believe further loss of life was imminent. I made the decision to commence the rescue operation and do the explosive breach. The explosive breach did not penetrate the wall completely. We used our armored vehicle, the BearCat armored vehicle, to punch a hole in that wall and defeat the wall, so there’s a hole in the wall about two feet off the ground and about two or three feet wide. We were able to rescue dozens and dozens of people that came out of that hole. The suspect came out of that hole himself armed with a handgun and a long gun, engaged in a gun battle with officers where he was ultimately killed.