New Pulse police body cam video sheds light on shooting
New Pulse nightclub footage shows the response through police officers’ eyes — from initial confusion to shock as they began to understand the scope of the attack that killed 49 people in Orlando on June 12.
More than 30 videos offer the most complete picture of what happened during the three-hour standoff.
In the body camera video released this week by the city of Orlando, Belle Isle Police Officer Brandon Cornwell entered the club through a large broken window near the front door and took cover behind a bar as Orlando police officers yelled commands toward the bathroom where gunman Omar Mateen had cornered survivors.
At 2:17 a.m., an officer started to scream and a barrage of shots could be heard. Orlando Police Chief John Mina has said officers fired at Mateen but did not hit him. Mateen did not fire at officers at that point, he said.
A couple minutes later, an officer yelled: “You, in the bathroom, let me see your hands now. Come out with your hands up, or you will die.”
Cornwell said a prayer to himself.
“Lord Jesus, watch over me,” he said.
The 15 new hours of footage given to the Orlando Sentinel through a public records request initially made nearly a year ago was redacted, and none of the people who died that night are shown.
Body cameras in this latest release captured officers encouraging victims to crawl out of the club, racing to the scene, talking about the many victims inside and the need for bomb dogs, and just waiting outside for further instructions. Patrons were frisked as they were rescued.
“Hands up, both hands, put your hands up,” the officer says off-camera. “Follow the sound of my voice. Come this way. Show me your [expletive] hands! … I need you to crawl this way. … Follow my light.”
In another video, chaos unfolded simultaneously in the bright white hallways of Orlando Regional Medical Center, after rumors of a second shooter at the hospital reached officers in the middle of the standoff. Footage from Orlando Police Officer Matthew Davis showed a team sweeping the hospital for a “bad guy.”
With a long gun drawn in front of him, Davis and other officers followed a trail of blood down the stairs to the basement and back up to the first floor, but they found nothing.
“Does anybody know where this blood is going?” someone asked.
A hospital worker told them a bleeding patient was taken to a room on the sixth floor and described the patient. They went upstairs to that room, but he wasn’t there.
Seconds later, they spotted a man down the hall who fit the description.
“You, here, down the hall,” one officer yells, as the man ducks into a room. “Hey, hey, hey, where are you at? Come here! Let me see your hands!”
Off-camera, the man cries out, “I’m shot.”
“I don’t care, [expletive] crawl to me right now,” the officer shouts back. “ … Crawl to me right now. [Expletive]. Crawl out! Crawl out! Crawl out now!”
Footage then shows the man splayed on the ground, cuffed, with a white sneaker on his right foot and a gunshot in his left foot.
It’s determined that he is a patient – and he is taken to the ER.
“We’ll obviously get him treated and everything,” Davis says. “But we’re gonna keep someone with him until we can figure out who he is.”
The report of a shooter at the hospital turned out to be unsubstantiated.
He found a woman sitting on the sidewalk nearby.
“Y’all gonna [expletive] shoot his [expletive]?” she asked.
“We can’t, ma’am,” he responded.
“What do you mean, you can’t?”
“We can’t; there’s more victims in there. We start to shoot, we might shoot other people,” Gargano said, running back to his post in front of the club.
“[Expletive] go in there and shoot his [expletive], man,” she called after him.
Staff writers Janet Brindle Reddick, David Harris, Dan Wine, Christal Hayes and Caitlin Doornbos contributed to this report.
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Omar Capo, 20, loved to dance and act. He came to Orlando to pursue a performance career. Read more about him here.(Courtesy photo)
Juan Ramon Guerrero went to the club with his boyfriend, Christopher Leinonen, who also was killed. Guerrero’s Instagram account is full of pictures of the two of them together, along with many family and friends. Read more about him here.(Juan Guerrero)
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, who grew up in Puerto Rico, was a protector, confidant and hero, according to Daniel Gmys-Casiano, a friend for almost 20 years. Read more about him here.(Wilson-Leon’s Facebook page / Courtesy photo)
Enrique L. Rios left his home in New York to spend the weekend celebrating a friend’s birthday in Orlando. Read more about him here.(Enrique Rios Facebook page / Courtesy photo)
Like many 19-year-olds, Jason Benjamin Josaphat had many interests and was just starting to chart his path in life, according to his family — he was computer savvy, loved to work out and had an interest in photography. Read more about him here.(Josaphat family)
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