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“Nearly half of those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting died where they were dancing without a chance to react or run for help,” reports. “Thirteen died in the bathrooms waiting for help during the three-hour hostage situation.”

That’s the paper’s take-away from a 78-page report Orlando Police Chief John Mina presents to police groups, explaining/exploiting his department’s response to the June 12 terrorist attack. Although, for some reason, the Florida news org refrains from calling it that.

And while we’re at it, I reckon few of the Pulse nightclub victims died “while they were dancing.” I’m sure most of them died running for their lives from an armed terrorist. Or frozen in fear as bullets tore into their bodies.

Equally, I’d like The Sentinel to reveal exactly how Chief Mina spins his lack of leadership. The analysis paralysis that led to a three-hour “standoff,” during which at least 13 people died.

Click here to see the official timeline, complete with audio, video and diagrams. According to the account, Mateen was holed-up in the nightclub’s bathroom, unopposed, from 2:05 am to 5:02 am. Here’s the Sentinel’s summary of Chief Mina’s mea culpa, his rationale for the deadly delay.

The department has consistently said it did not go in until then for fear that hostages would be harmed. Mina made the decision after Mateen said he strapped bombs to people in the four corners of the club. The timeline says Mateen told police at 2:48 a.m. that he was wearing a bomb vest and “had a vehicle in the parking lot with enough explosives to take out city blocks.”

No explosives were found in the club.

No further explanation for police inaction is found in the The Sentinel’s retelling of the Chief’s account. But we get this description of what finally got the cops into gear, at 5:02 am . . .

Mina says [terrorist Omar] Mateen told a negotiator that he was going to put four hostages in explosive vests, and had a vest for himself as well. Officers, fearing imminent loss of life, decide to force their way through the restroom walls.

If Chief Mina — not “officers” — thought the possibility of explosions was reason enough to [finally] mount an assault on Mateen’s position at 5:02 am, why wasn’t it sufficient motivation when Mateen first made the threat at 2:52 am?

According to official records that’s when “Deputies note that they have received word from Orlando police that the shooter is possibly ‘wearing a bomb’ and that there might be an explosive in a car in the parking lot.”

Even if the Orlando Police had entered the Pulse nightclub at that moment, they would have been making their rescue attempt 20 minutes after the shooting started. A long enough delay for Mateen to kill dozens more victims.

There’s no way around it: the Orland Police Department’s response to the Pulse nightclub attack was woefully, tragically inadequate.

The off-duty officer in the Pulse nightclub failed to stop the killing. He left the club knowing there was a single shooter actively murdering patrons, and failed to re-engage the terrorist. The responding on-duty police officers — one of whom took a bullet to his helmet — also failed to take out the terrorist, and then failed to pursue him and eliminate the threat. Chief Mina failed to mount a timely rescue mission.

The main “lesson” Chief Mina should have learned is the exact same one learned at Columbine High School in 1999 (and spread throughout the law enforcement community): attack a spree killer at the first opportunity. Do NOT wait to set-up a perimeter or back-up.

Chief Mina shouldn’t be touring the world touting his experience during the Pulse nightclub slaughter. He should be relieved of his command and replaced with someone capable of responding efficiently and appropriately to a public safety emergency. Someone who can select and training officers to do the same.

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    • The first priority is going home at the end of shift. They are not Secret Service nor private security guards. I don’t expect them be either so as JWT said you are on your own.

      • I’m referring to the first sentence. That no one is coming. That is 100% false. Someone will come. They may be slow and reluctant. But they are coming. Yes, I agree with the second sentence. We are on our own.

        • Disagreeing with one short sentence and agreeing with the second are two opinions. Not goal post moving. Not at all. You back tracked on your first sentence, as it is obviously 99.9% false. That’s goal post moving. You are the guy with the shovel in his truck.

        • I’m not backtracking on my first sentence at all. No one came for those 13 dead people. They came only for their corpses.
          What does that have to do with keeping a shovel in my truck?

        • In this case, nobody came over the relevant range of time, and 13 victims bled out. Maybe that didn’t happen elsewhere in some past sprees, but it has in others and could very well again in the future.

          That realistic probability, plus a little deference for rhetorical flourish, compels me to side with JWT on thia one.

        • Horse manure. Since you can count on not ever being alive to see them arrive, best to just say they are not coming, and plan your actions that way.

      • The data points to the Graham Killhouse Rules as being absolutely spot on. A cursory analysis of crime statistics plainly illustrates that police were not present to prevent the overwhelming majority of crimes. Wherever you go, there’s a very high probability that you’re there (those that lived through the 60’s are exempt), so have a plan to protect yourself.

  1. The type of person who would promptly engage a hostile shooter is frequently removed from the department for being “too aggressive” and “unsuited” for police work.

    • Why would they be removed? Unless they can’t tell the difference and are aggressive with everyone.

      • I think that’s the problem. General police work takes a level of tact and coolheadedness that a highly aggressive personality is unsuited for. That type of person either becomes bored and moves on to another career, or is removed from the agency. Despite what the mass media implies, mass shooter incidents are something that most LEOs will never experience in their career.

      • You asked why aggressive (brave hero types) officers would be removed. If it is true that most officers just want to see home after their shift, and will tend to avoid real danger even when it should be faced, then the presence of a dedicated aggressive type would highlight the failings of such officers, making them uncomfortable. Removing the aggressive type solves that. If they are senior and in the majority their comfort on the job will likely come ahead of their responsibility to the community.

    • i see this as a problem in the police these days. We’ve turned them from “people to stand between a bad guy and a good guy and stop the bad guy by force”, into “Tax collectors with guns”.

      They spend significantly, overwhelmingly too much time enforcing regulatory crime.

  2. Very strange level of failure all the way. Handled like a domestic standoff the whole way ’round.

  3. Nearly half were murdered while they were dancing before they could react? Total bullshit. How many shots would have been required for Mateen to accomplish this and how many seconds would this take? After a few seconds people would have known what was up. How they reacted would run the gamut from freezing in place, to running out of the club to hiding in a restroom, or even attacking the shooter.
    Nice to see the Orlando Sentinel holding OPD accountable for their criminal negligence.

    • We need look no further than this past weekend’s incident at Penn Station. The crowd hears a pop from a stun gun and panic ensues. From the videos, it looks like a lot of people froze in place and dropped to the floor. Probably a similar reaction by victims in the Orlando nightclub.

    • I can see this as being possible. Depending on the volume and type of the music being played, I could see even 30 rounds being fired before people could react and respond.

  4. Let’s be a little more honest. 13 confirmed. 20-30 realistically. Cops were there in 6 mins (surprisingly fast). Medical staff could’ve been offering support by the 15 minute matk.

    • Given that the muzrat in question was using a 5.56 rifle, I’d bet most of the casualties had survivable injuries provided they had gotten medical care in time.

      Quite frankly, everybody in the chain of command for this fiasco needs to be stood up against the wall and shot.

      • “Given that the muzrat in question was using a 5.56 rifle, I’d bet most of the casualties had survivable injuries provided they had gotten medical care in time.”

        Because the 5.56mm, that has been in constant use for over 50 years by the US military and has killed many thousands of enemy combatants, is not lethal? I think you have been reading too many moronic postings by people on arfcom.

        • Jerry, Serge is an Iraq war veteran, and like me (though my combat was in Afghanistan) has seen the actual effects of the 5.56NATO rounds on humans. His statement is 100% factually correct.
          What has been your personal experience shooting people with the 5.56 round? Did you recover their bodies? Did they drop immediately? Did they reposition? Did they return fire?

        • Jerry, Serge is an Iraq war veteran and has direct experience with the 5.46nato round. He is 100% correct in his statement.

      • depends on the ammunition used.

        a 5.56mm has significantly more muzzle energy than most pistols. 55 grain expanding ammo is a far better “stopper” against unarmored humans than the heavier ammo designed to penetrate body armor and obstructions.

        • I’m not trying to be difficult, but I don’t even understand the question you’re asking. What is the police propaganda in the article that you are referring to?

        • My interpretation of his statement is that the police report is fake news. My interpretation of your interpretation of his statement is that you feel his statement refers to the TTAG post. Either of us may be correct. Or neither.

        • I had no interpretation. I didn’t understand his question, which is why I asked for clarification.

        • I can admit my interpretation is wrong. My interpretation of you is you wouldn’t.

        • My interpretation of his interpretation of your interpretation was that you were interpreting his interpretation as an interpretation interpretation interpretation….

        • “Well you missed again, because I can also admit that you are wrong.” Now that’s funny. Not nice or humble, but definitely funny.

  5. Is it me or does that guy look particularly creepy? And I highly doubt half the victims died while blissfully dancing away, with not even a second to react- that just isn’t even a logical statement.

    • What does the photo of “that guy” have to do with anything? Nothing.

      What relevance is your opinion that he looks “creepy?” None.

      Do you think someone’s appearance determines whether or not you will agree with them?

  6. Every situation like this one hinges on its own set of facts and circumstances and the authorities act on the information they have AT THE TIME. It’s pretty easy to Monday-morning-quarterback with the benefit of hindsight, Mr. Farago. In this particular situation, it probably would have been better to “go tactical” much sooner than the police did – but that’s not always the case. It takes TIME to gather intelligence and formulate a plan calculated to keep casualties to a minimum. Charging in willy-nilly with guns blazing is quite simply not the way to do things in the great majority of situations involving barricaded persons who have hostages.

    You seem to imply that the off-duty officer was cowardly and the first-responding officers were inept because they didn’t shoot the spree-killer immediately. Would YOU go up against someone with a rifle armed with a pistol? Do you KNOW that those officers had a clear shot without their endangering the crowd of innocent people in the club?

    I’ve not the least doubt that Chief Mina and the Orlando PD did the best they could in an extremely volatile situation which is unparalleled in American history. If you think you know how to handle a situation like this better, I suggest you pin on a badge and have at it.

    • If this is the sort of response we can expect from police, perhaps they should be stripped of all the privileges they get for allegedly “putting their lives on the line”. Quite frankly, this “thin blue wall” bullshit has to stop. If cops aren’t willing to do their jobs (like in Berkeley this week) then they need to be replaced by people who are.

    • I wouldn’t call it “willy-nilly” but the recommended course of action for officers facing an active shooter or shooters is to immediately engage, and has been since Columbine.

      I recommend this document, prepared in 2014 by The Police Executive Research Forum: The Police Response to Active Shooter Incidents.

      Page 16, No Question, We Now Train To Stop the Threat ASAP:

      “Today, we are training our officers to be much more aggressive,” Arvada, CO Sgt. A.J. DeAndrea says, “and to get into the venue and stop the threat. We’re teaching that in the Police Academy and then all the way through officers’ careers professionally.”

      And yes, I’d go in. Wouldn’t you?

      • The problem Mr. Betts, is that Law Enforcement has been able to move the goal posts, from risking their lives to protect the citizens who pay their salaries, to not risking their lives and no longer being expected to protect the citizens who pay their salaries. The salaries have also gone up quite a bit in the process of moving the goalposts.

        As Serge said, check the Berkeley police response this weekend. Pretty much sums it up. Each one of those guys sitting and watching the rioting from a safe distance is likely pulling down six figures, for life.

      • Mr. Farago – If you look at my initial response, you will please note that my first statement was that EVERY one of these situations hinges on its own set of facts and circumstances. About the only thing which these situations have in common is that there’s initially a massive amount of confusion and misinformation. There are certainly situations wherein the initial officers on the scene should engage and eliminate an active shooter, even in a one-on-one scenario with the officer out-gunned. If nothing else, it can force the shooter to “go to ground” or decide to stop shooting other people and shoot himself instead. That’s the ideal – but it doesn’t always happen, does it? I was trained that there was a pecking order if someone had to die in a hostage/barricade situation. It went (1.) the shooter, (2) officer/s, and (3.) hostages or other innocent persons. Ideally, NOBODY dies, but as a negotiator you may be called upon to lure the shooter into the cross-hairs of a police sniper if need be to save the lives of hostages.

        The worst-possible-case scenario? The police killing the LAST person who should be killed – the innocent. Has that happened? Unfortunately, it sure has, usually when events unfold so rapidly that the police don’t have the time to assess the situation and disseminate the information to all of the officers on the scene, some of whom may be from different departments and on different radio frequencies. Contrary to what some on this forum believe, in my experience cops FLOCK to these situations like flies on a manure pile and command/control is difficult at best.

        Frankly, I don’t know enough about the Orlando nightclub shooting to either condemn or praise the Orlando PD. I don’t think that you, the Orlando Sentinel, or anyone else who is so free with his opinion does, either. However, I think that the Orlando PD and its leadership did the best they could in a very difficult situation. Had they gone in with guns blazing and killed some innocent people, they’d have been blasted for that. In other words, it’s the old “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position which the Orlando PD finds itself in – and that benefits no one.

        • And I will add to your statement Mr. Betts, that no one will be held accountable within the wagon-circling police force. That’s as frustrating as the initial inaction. Cops seem to have forgotten the initial reason police forces were formed and funded by society. Some level of risk to life is inherent in taking the paycheck.

        • There is PLENTY of information on the police response to the shooting. Follow the links.

          But the basics remain the basics: a single spree killer contained in a building, shooting paused, victims bleeding out (calling 911). Three hour wait? For what, exactly?

  7. Just curious… how many people are still choosing to go into these huge “gun free zones?” And why?

    While the delay in this case was horrible and immoral, we have to remember that the police do not have any legal OBLIGATION to provide protection for any individual. Each individual is, ultimately, responsible for their own safety. All of the people in this club chose to be helpless and rely on others. What a shame.

    • People are free to choose, where to go, who they go with. Its called freedom in American. Nobody said it was a smart thing to do. Or that it would be wrong. That would be being judgmental.
      I personally think its immoral to travel without a means of lethal self-defense.

    • I am. It’s where my money comes from and there are a ton of people with guns there, some of whom I trust to respond appropriately. The part I worry about is the trip from and to my truck.

  8. I don’t think we are the ones who should be reviewing this. It was a sit-rep most; if not all of us, have no experience.
    It is a situation that needs expert review and presentation for the rest of us to take heed. What can the average person do? What can the venue do to improve security? What can the police do better?

    • As the people who employee law enforcement, we are exactly the people to hold them accountable. In addition, as the victims and potential victims, we are doubly charged with reviewing the actions of those who attempt to harm us as well as those who we pay to defend us.
      To answer your questions, the average person can carry a firearm and train with a firearm, make legislative changes that allow us to do those actions freely as well as review police TTPs to modify them or enforce standards.
      The venue can hire adequate security personnel both in number, armament, and training.
      The police can actually respond with what has proven to be, over and over again, the appropriate response. Ever since Columbine, that has proven to be immediate force with whatever assets can be brought to bear.

      • If you are going to allow the public to review and revise TTP’s expect groups like black lives matter to take advantage and revise them towards less use of force and less action not more. Which group of citizens will get final say on TTP’s?

        • All citizens get a say, even if I, or you, don’t like what they have to say. No animal is more equal to any other animal.

  9. This only confirms what POTG already know. The po-leece are not your friends. Pathetic and cowardly cops. What jw said…

    • Watch out we got a real bad ass over here.

      if you are so brave you should become a police officer so you can show them how it’s done.

  10. Police have no legal duty to protect individuals. Yet some would lead us to believe they deserve carveouts even while retired. If cops are all that’s needed why would retired cops need to arm themselves? If being targeted is an excuse criminals target the weak.

    So at least 13 bled out waiting and waiting while scared cops sat outside shaking. This is why your defense is ultimately in your hands.

  11. just a thought, but what if a civilian a block or two away, in the comfort of a lazy-boy next to a window would have somehow had a clear shot? most people would have a lot to consider, such as, if I get my ol 30/06, chamber the one round needed, and stop a psycho dead in his tracks, I may save a lot of lives, but I’ll end up in prison for doing so.

    it’s rediculous when you think about it, but the good guy, stopping a mass murder will almost guaranteed be punished for a civil duty of protecting his fellow man.

    there are more than a few laws that need fixed in this day and age, likely because most law enforcement are crooked and could care less, it’s all about that conviction rate baby.

  12. I’m sure you had officers outside the club gnashing their teeth wanting to go in and stop this guy.
    Everyone seems to think Riggs and Murtaugh are there and will go storming in, weapons blazing.
    Unfortunately, they were waiting for orders. I’m sure there were a lot of people getting woke up by phone calls when they finally arrived.
    Does this make it right? Absolutely not. Someone failed to act. Someone failed to give direction to the officers who were there.
    This starts at the top and trickles down.

  13. The officer on the scene failed to engage and stay on the shooter. Was the officer in fear of his life and the hell with everybody else?

  14. I think the Orlando police need to be investigated for ties to LGBT hate groups and possibly ties to ISIS. I’d put all the officers of the department on unpaid leave until the investigation is concluded. In the meantime Orlando will have no police presence, but it seems that there wasn’t one anyway during the early morning hours of June 12th.

  15. There is a gap between the expectation of duties from the public and the actual duties of the modern police officer. Obviously this needs review. Now that the perception has been made clear that the police do not have our best interests at heart (as admitted) then their pay and duties should be adjusted accordingly.

    Sadly, the reality is that the modern gun culture, training, and self-defense training community is evolving nicely but the PD are slow on the uptake due to politics and corruption and it is costing lives.

    Those in PD that do not agree or are with the changes should be removed from duty. Period.

  16. The police exist to fill out forms and pick up the bodies during the aftermath. Carry your gun, 24/7, 365 days a year. End of story.

    • Everyone should memorize:

      1. Police have no legal duty to protect individuals.
      2. Police have no legal liability when they fail to protect individuals.
      3. Police not assigned as bodyguards have no physical ability to protect individuals.

      Police don’t protect individuals. Police draw chalk outlines around people unwilling or unable to protect themselves.

      If you’re not willing and able to protect YOURSELF, you’re just not going to get protected AT ALL. Anybody who tells you different is a liar.

  17. Remember:

    1. You don’t need a gun. The police will “protect” you.
    2. Trump is a greater danger to gays than islamists.

    • I do not disagree, sir, but I must make a grammar Nazi correction to your point #2, as it is confusing as written:

      2. Trump is a greater danger to gays than Islamists.

      This should read, for clarity:

      2. Trump is a greater danger to gays than are Islamists.

      Since we are all hoping that Trump is and will be a great danger to Islamic extremists.

  18. It is always fun to be a Monday morning quarterback. We will never know what the police were really thinking when they responded. We will only hear their official testimony. Being someone who worked military law enforcement 30 years ago, I would probably have been more worried about getting in trouble than losing my life. So, if I were the on-scene commander, I may be thinking about how this can end without getting sued. If I send in the SWAT team, and this guy does blow up the building, I will have lost the SWAT team, and the families of everyone on the scene will probably sue me. If I wait it out until I have more than ample justification for a high risk assault, the last resort argument, it becomes more difficult for the families to win a lawsuit against me. Unfortunately, as difficult as it may be to stomach, that is reality. Our society has done everything it can to discourage heroism, and this is what happens.

  19. The federal active shooter guidelines state that the police are supposed to go in and not stop until they find the guy who is shooting… but they also say that this changes if the guy stops shooting and turns the killing into a hostage situation. Maybe that’s what happened here. I dunno, as far as I’m concerned that sort of distinction is hard to make in the moment, easier to just keep going after him…

  20. Mr. Farago – There not being a “reply” option under your last posting, I shall have to do it here. You said there is “plenty” of information in the article. Really? Perhaps for someone who has already made up his mind as to where to point fingers. Where are the diagrams of the scene which delineate where everybody was, exhibiting what sort of cover they had and their fields of fire? Where is the after-action critique explaining what decisions were made, by whom, when and why? The information included in that report barely scratched the surface. When I was a hostage negotiator, within a day or two of each and every incident everyone involved attended a critique which had a detailed map of the scene noting where everyone was, what sort of cover and/or concealment they had, and what they could or could not do from that position. We went over everything that occurred, minute by minute, noting the things we did well and those things we could have and should have done better. Everyone involved was encouraged to give their input, both positive and negative. Yes, we made mistakes. We’re human and humans are fallible – but we were good enough that we were featured on a segment of “60 Minutes” on CBS and selected by the U.S. State Department to train foreign police in the art and science of crisis management.

    Unless and until I see something from Orlando PD along the lines of what I’ve noted that we ALWAYS did, I’m not going to throw stones. If they haven’t done it, they damned well should. Perhaps with that knowledge I’ll be throwing brickbats with you. Why? We got as good as we got because we had situations which we had handled poorly and there were those knowledgeable and dedicated cops who knew we could do better and pushed for it.

  21. Mr. Farago – I did a bit of Googling and filled in some of the blanks using Orlando Sentinel and Miami Herald recapitulations of the massacre. While they are by no stretch of the imagination comprehensive, at least they give us a somewhat better appreciation of what happened if not a rationale for the decision-making process:

    If the accounts are correct, an off-duty officer who was working a part-time job as security was in the parking lot when the shooting started and IMMEDIATELY engaged the gunman. Unfortunately, his shots did not take effect and Mateen then entered the club and began to slaughter anyone he saw. The off-duty officer, realizing he was severely out-gunned, radioed for help and a major incident was called, resulting in a total of 27 different police and rescue agencies responding to the scene (a command-and-control nightmare in itself). The Orlando SWAT team was activated and as the team replaced street officers after police gunfire from 11 Orlando officers and 3 Orange County deputies forced Mateen into the bathroom, unfortunately where people who couldn’t escape the club had taken refuge. The situation has now evolved from an “active shooter” into a “barricade w/hostages situation”. Negotiations were attempted AS POLICE AND RESCUE PERSONNEL REMOVED AS MANY OF THE DEAD AND WOUNDED AS THEY COULD, i.e., it doesn’t appear that they were simply sitting on their hands, does it?

    After Mateen threatened to put four of the hostages in explosive vests and it became apparent that negotiations were going nowhere, it was finally decided to breach the outside wall of the bathroom using controlled demolitions (the accounts are not clear if this was designed to actually breach the wall or simply as a distraction device) while also using a BearCat tactical armored vehicle to punch a hole in the exterior wall. When Mateen emerged from the hole shooting, he was shot and killed by Orlando SWAT officers, ending the threat and allowing rescue personnel to evacuate the wounded and dead from the restroom stalls.

    Were any innocents killed or wounded by the police in the darkness and confusion inside the club, or by the demolition of the restroom wall? It’s not simply possible, but downright likely. However, having “been there, done that” and now having a better understanding of what happened, I’ve not the least doubt that the police did the best they could under the circumstances.

    • no doubt the responding police were not simply “sitting on their hands.”

      I’m sure they did what they thought was right.

      That doesn’t equate to them doing everything correctly.

  22. The press lauded the brave “first responders” immediately and constantly after the attack, and how they “saved lives”.

    I was suspicious from the beginning because of the length of time it took to resolve the situation – active shooter events don’t get better with time! At the time it seemed to me they f***ed up not going in right away. Now that view seems to be the consensus.

  23. There should be a simple rule: never leave unarmed people in the power of someone who has already demonstrated his penchant for killing. Five or ten minutes for planning might be needed, but more than that is just letting the bad guy enjoy his ‘success’.

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