Police Officers Being Dubbed Heroes After Tragic Orlando Shooting
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
During the standoff that ultimately killed 49 people, 50 including the shooter, and injured 53 more at the Orlando nightclub Pulse, 11 officers and three sheriff’s deputies stepped up to the plate and exchanged fire with the gunman. Orlando’s former police chief Val Demings praised their bravery explaining, “the carnage would have been worse if not for the officers.”
“The ultimate goal in a situation like this is to preserve human life,” former Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings shared with Today.
The names of the specific officers have yet to be released, however they are already being referred to as heroes.
Demings spoke to an officer who was present during the attacks and explained the shear panic that ensued during the shooting.
“I can tell you that I saw utter anxiety in his face at that time,” Demings shared with Today. “He said, ‘Sheriff, there are multiple bodies in there. I just saw something that I’ve never seen before.'”
While most people were running away from the scene, the officers and sheriffs ran toward the carnage ready to help.
“They are trained to run to things that most people run away from,” Val Demings, Orlando’s former police chief, explained.
The officers are currently following policy and are on leave and have been given counseling following the traumatic event.
Authorities revealed that the shooter, Omar Mateen, died in a shootout with police. According to reports, Mateen contacted dispatchers approximately 20 minutes into the attack and pledged allegiance to ISIS and spoke of the Boston Marathon bombings. Mateen had previously been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014, and his ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that Mateen had abused her repeatedly during their relationship and he was “bipolar.”
“In the beginning he was a normal being that cared about family, loved to joke, loved to have fun, but then a few months after we were married I saw his instability,” said Yusufiy. “I saw that he was bipolar and he would get mad out of nowhere. That’s when I started worrying about my safety.”