South Florida

FDLE agents did the best they could at Pulse, report concludes

A year following the Pulse night club tragedy, the property remains covered with messages, candles, artwork, photos and memorabilia honoring the victims and survivors.
A year following the Pulse night club tragedy, the property remains covered with messages, candles, artwork, photos and memorabilia honoring the victims and survivors. Jessica Koscielniak

An analysis of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s response to the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, concluded the agency “achieved the best possible outcome.”

FDLE officers arrived at the Orlando LGBTQ club ready to investigate an officer-involved shooting, and, like everyone else involved, were shocked by the scope of the attack. Gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured dozens more in the four-hour ordeal before he was fatally shot by police.

After the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, the responsibility to identify victims and tell their families fell to FDLE, an agency that normally doesn’t do that. Agents identified 48 of the victims by 7 a.m. Monday.

The report, originally completed in December, was recently released after a records request from the Orlando Sentinel.

Recommendations for improvement were minor, including standardizing “go-bags” for agents, allowing lightweight uniforms in the Florida heat and more radio training for agents.

An agency spokeswoman said the report’s creators sent the results of their investigation on the officer-involved shooting aspect of the case to the Orange County State Attorney’s office for review. The office has yet to respond or take further action.

Unanswered questions still remain: Was “friendly fire” a factor? Did any victims die of treatable wounds while police waited to confront Mateen?

Those will be addressed in an upcoming report from the FBI, although the law-enforcement agency has not indicated when it will be released.

Local LGBTQ group Pridelines partnered with the city of Miami Police Department and the Miami Heat to organize the Pulse Day of Remembrance event, which was held overlooking the water at AmericanAirlines Arena’s Xfinity Plaza Terrace.

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