What Happened Inside the Orlando Nightclub

Orlando, Atlantic Ocean, FLORIDA

Gunman lived in Fort Pierce West Palm Beach

Orlando Site of shooting

Timeline of the Attack

Before 2 a.m. Omar Mateen, a resident of Fort Pierce, a city about 120 miles from Orlando, parked his van outside Pulse, a gay nightclub.

2:02 a.m. He entered the club armed with an AR-15-type assault rifle, a handgun and many rounds of ammunition, and opened fire, said John Mina, the Orlando police chief.


Nightclub, Entrance, Patio, Parking lot


The New York Times; photograph by Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

The gunman went outside at some point after the initial shots were fired, the chief said, then went back inside.

Restrooms Some patrons hid in restrooms, calling police and texting friends and family for help. At some point, police received word from inside the building that at least 15 people were hiding in a restroom.

Restrooms,Main dancefloor

Patio Ray Rivera, 42, a D.J. at the club, was playing reggae music on the patio when the shooting started. “I thought it was firecrackers,” Mr. Rivera said. But the gunfire did not let up. “I saw bodies on the floor, people on the floor everywhere,” he said.

Main entrance Security was posted at the front entrance, and it is unclear how the gunman entered the club.

Main dance floor Latin music was playing on the main dance floor. The nightclub, which calls itself “Orlando’s Latin Hotspot,” was holding its weekly “Upscale Latin Saturdays” party with three D.J.s and a midnight show.

DeAngelo Scott, 30, said the club was packed. “Every room I went into was full. I had to squeeze through the main room.” He left the club at 1:58 a.m.

Then police marshaled forces, bringing in a SWAT team and an armored vehicle. At some point, Chief Mina said, there was contact with the gunman inside. “There was some communication, but we are not going to release that right now,” the chief said.

It is unknown, he said, whether the gunman was killing others inside the club as the authorities prepared for a confrontation.

“Any time we have a hostage situation, we’re definitely going to use extreme measures to make sure we have enough personnel on the scene,” Chief Mina said.

3 a.m. The club posted a warning on Facebook.



5 a.m. The police began an operation to rescue the people trapped inside. They detonated two explosives to distract the gunman. Eleven officers entered the club, and shots were exchanged. Mr. Mateen was killed. One officer was shot in the head, but his Kevlar helmet prevented serious injury, Chief Mina said. At least 30 people were found alive.

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