None of the Pulse shooting victims were struck by officer fire, review finds

By Erin Donaghue

/ CBS News

Officers cleared in Pulse shooting

None of the victims of the shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub were struck by bullets fired by law enforcement, according to the Osceola-Orange State Attorney's office.

The findings, presented as part of a "shoot review" Wednesday, were based on an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and evidence collected by the FBI, which found that 14 law enforcement officers who fired more than 180 shots over a period of four hours were all justified in their actions.

More than 400 rounds were fired during the massacre, the review found — including by gunman Omar Mateen, who fired 189 rounds with an assault rifle and 22 rounds with a 9mm handgun after he entered the club around 2 a.m. on June 2, 2016. In addition to the 49 people killed in the attack, more than 50 others were injured.

Osceola-Orange Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra presents the findings of the review. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP

"Each time the law enforcement officer pulled the trigger it was reasonable and justifiable," said Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra.

The investigation found that the shooter's assault rifle jammed, and that as he barricaded himself in a bathroom for about three hours he called 911 five times saying he had explosives in the parking lot. He also Googled how to unjam his weapon and spell the word "allegiance" while he hid in the bathroom.

Barra said the gunman was unable to unjam the assault rifle, which she believed "saved lives."

The office reviewed a compilation of evidence including 350 witness statements, police radio traffic, helicopter footage, video from inside the club and 911 calls in an attempt to determine how many officers fired their weapons, why, and where the bullets went, Barra said.

Orlando nightclub mass shooting victims
Orlando nightclub mass shooting victims 49 photos

The review found that responding officers engaged the gunman five times before and after the three hours he barricaded himself in the bathroom.

Just before he barricaded himself, officers heard the shooter open fire from inside a bathroom, and they focused on the bathroom door expecting him to re-emerge, Barra said. At that point a survivor peeked out of the bathroom door, and two officers opened fire when he didn't show his hands, Barra said. One officer fired once and struck a mirror, and the second officer fired three times. None of the bullets struck the man, who later complied and was escorted safely out of the club, Barra said.

The shooter would later re-emerge in a hole officers had punched in the concrete around 5:13 a.m. when officers deployed flash bombs, and he opened fire again with a handgun, Barra said. One shot hit an officer in the helmet and another struck a survivor in the calf, Barra said. Thirteen officers — 10 with the Orlando Police Department and three with the Orange County Sheriff's Office — returned fire.

The officers struck the gunman seven times, and he fell backward, Barra said. Officers fired at him once more when he was already down because he was near an apparent explosive device, Barra said.

The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.

"While there is no way to take away the pain and the devastation that has been imparted upon our community, it is my hope that sharing the results of this investigation will help survivors and the loved ones find closure and answer any questions," Ayala said. "They do deserve to have answers."

The gunman's wife, Noor Salman, was acquitted last year of helping him plan the shooting and lying to the FBI.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who was Orlando's police chief at the time of the massacre, said officers were relieved by the prosecutor's findings, The Associated Press reported.

"I'm relieved for the officers and deputies, the brave men and women who went inside there and risked their own lives," Mina said. "They now have final closure and relief that they weren't responsible for the death of any victim."

First published on February 13, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Erin Donaghue

Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

orlando.jpg Orlando nightclub mass shooting victims

Shutdown watch: Trump poised to sign border deal — live updates

Trump is "very likely" to sign the agreement reached by congressional negotiators, according to an administration official

updated 10M ago

T-Mobile, Sprint CEOs insist merger would benefit consumers

Proposed $26 billion union of U.S. wireless carriers would lower costs and create jobs, executives say

updated 17M ago

None of the Pulse shooting victims were struck by officer fire, review finds

Probe also revealed what the gunman Googled while he hid from police in a bathroom

updated 7M ago

Trump to address conference of sheriffs, police chiefs

Mr. Trump's remarks come amid negotiations to keep the government from shutting down

1H ago

Gunman kills wife at dentist's office, gets shot by bystander

Armed bystander shoots gunman, detains him, waits for police to arrive, police say

1H ago

Shutdown watch: Trump poised to sign border deal — live updates

Trump is "very likely" to sign the agreement reached by congressional negotiators, according to an administration official

updated 10M ago

T-Mobile, Sprint CEOs insist merger would benefit consumers

Proposed $26 billion union of U.S. wireless carriers would lower costs and create jobs, executives say

updated 17M ago

Trump to address conference of sheriffs, police chiefs

Mr. Trump's remarks come amid negotiations to keep the government from shutting down

1H ago

Trump says "all options" remain on the table to deal with Venezuela crisis

Meeting with Colombia's president in the Oval Office, the president declined to answer whether he was considering sending troops to Venezuela

1H ago

Former Air Force officer charged with espionage

The U.S. accused Monica Witt of revealing highly classified information to Tehran

updated 42M ago

African black leopard captured in rare photos

Will Burrard-Lucas​ snapped these stunning photos of the wild leopard during a safari in Kenya

updated 1M ago

Former Air Force officer charged with espionage

The U.S. accused Monica Witt of revealing highly classified information to Tehran

updated 42M ago

At least two Americans killed in Kenya plane crash

local reports suggest a third American died in the crash near the Maasai Mara reserve but American officials have only confirmed two deaths.

4H ago

U.S. insists Mideast summit not just Iran-bashing – Iran begs to differ

Official theme of the gathering in Poland was broadened under pressure from EU allies, but Israel is clear: "The focus is Iran"

2H ago

"Unprecedented" floods kills 300,000 cows in Australia

One in 40 of Australia's cattle thought to have drowned in flooding unleashed by downpour after 5 years of drought

5H ago

Disney reveals first look at "Frozen 2"

Fans get their first look at the highly-anticipated "Frozen 2," and it appears the cast is far from where they started

updated 7M ago

3 women share role of Cher on Broadway. They call it "Cherapy."

The lead role is played by three actresses who represent the different stages of Cher's life

2H ago

George Clooney defends Meghan Markle after treatment by press

"I believe she cried more to do with the press intrusion than anything else in her life," Prince William has said about their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales

5H ago

21 Savage granted release on bond from ICE custody, lawyers say

The Atlanta-based rapper was arrested by ICE on Feb. 3

20H ago

Police use pepper balls to disperse Travis Scott fans

"Astroworld" was not the fantasyland fans hoped it would be

Feb 12

African black leopard captured in rare photos

Will Burrard-Lucas​ snapped these stunning photos of the wild leopard during a safari in Kenya

updated 1M ago

T-Mobile, Sprint CEOs insist merger would benefit consumers

Proposed $26 billion union of U.S. wireless carriers would lower costs and create jobs, executives say

updated 17M ago

T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend $26.5 billion deal to lawmakers

The telecom executives are likely to face a skeptical audience and concerns about lack of competition

4H ago

Driver says Tesla car gets "confused," crashes on highway

"The driver was shaken. He was panicked by the accident," police said

4H ago

Senator calls for Google, Apple to drop Saudi app that monitors women

Oregon's Ron Wyden says U.S. tech companies shouldn't facilitate "abhorrent surveillance and control of women"

23H ago

Eating these kinds of foods may cut your life short

New research suggests certain foods high in salt, sugar and other additives may increase the risk of early death

3H ago

Depression during and after pregnancy can be prevented, panel says

Up to 1 in 7 women experience what's called perinatal depression, and a task force has issued new recommendations to help prevent it

4H ago

Drugmaker behind ibuprofen recall has history of FDA violations

Federal watchdog previously found significant violations of manufacturing rules by Tris Pharma

4H ago

How to confront rising anxiety among young girls

Psychologist Lisa Damour offers practical advise on how adults can help address the "unique pressures" girls face

9H ago

Teen defies mom, gets vaccinated after turning to strangers online

"I question her judgment, but not her care," says Ethan Lindenberger of his mother

Feb 12

T-Mobile, Sprint CEOs insist merger would benefit consumers

Proposed $26 billion union of U.S. wireless carriers would lower costs and create jobs, executives say

updated 17M ago

Levi's plans initial public offering

Jeans maker, which has operated as a private company since 1985, wants to raise $100 million in bid to drive growth

1H ago

Ford recalls 1.5M pickups that can downshift abruptly

A glitch from the transmission speed sensor caused five accidents thus far, including one with a whiplash injury

1H ago

Drugmaker behind ibuprofen recall has history of FDA violations

Federal watchdog previously found significant violations of manufacturing rules by Tris Pharma

4H ago

T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend $26.5 billion deal to lawmakers

The telecom executives are likely to face a skeptical audience and concerns about lack of competition

4H ago

Gunman kills wife at dentist's office, gets shot by bystander

Armed bystander shoots gunman, detains him, waits for police to arrive, police say

1H ago

White supremacist gang in Arkansas accused of brutal tactics

Group called "reprehensible in its admiration for Nazi imagery and racist views, but even more alarming are the crimes and violence perpetrated by these defendants"

3H ago

Ohio State student and her kidnapper killed in police chase

Female student from Ohio State University campus, man suspected of abducting her both die after police chase, shooting

3H ago

One year after Parkland shooting, survivors continue push for change

Survivor Lauren Hogg tells CBSN activism "gives me a reason to get up every single morning"

1H ago

2 kids found in dog cages, 2 more covered in waste in barn

All appeared malnourished; the local sheriff near Rhome, Texas, outside Dallas, called it the worst case of child abuse he's ever seen

3H ago  Original Article