Some details of the Orlando nightclub massacre are known to the minute: The first reports of gunfire came at 2:02 a.m. The gunman made a 911 call at 2:35 a.m., in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. By 5:15 a.m., as hostages fled to safety, he lay dead or mortally wounded in a scene of unimaginable carnage.
Many questions persist about those three hours at the blood-drenched Pulse nightclub, and about how law enforcement handled the crisis on June 12. Orlando police officials have been peppered with queries from the public, survivors and the news media about whether they should have confronted the gunman sooner and whether any of the victims were shot by the police.
The city’s police chief, John Mina, and other officials have repeatedly defended the delay in storming a bathroom where the gunman had taken hostages, and have deflected questions about whose bullets did what damage. On Monday, Chief Mina answered in a way that left open the possibility that some of the 49 people killed and 53 wounded were, in fact, hit by police gunfire.
“That’s part of the investigation, but here’s what I will tell you: Those killings are on the suspect,” he said.
The chief spoke at a news conference with local and federal law enforcement officials outside the club to release a partial transcript of the gunman’s conversations with the police during the siege, and to fill a few gaps in the official account of what took place. But the news conference seemed intended just as much to reject criticism of the police.
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