City of Orlando Records

New Details From Police Inside Pulse Attack: “If You’re Alive, Raise Your Hand”

Efforts to rescue victims started just six minutes after the attack began.

A new report from the Orlando Police Department details officers arrival and interactions at Pulse nightclub on June 12, and the days that followed.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina has shared a 78-slide PowerPoint presentation with police departments around the world, discussing what was done right and what could have been done differently. In addition to precise details and timeline, it also includes crime-scene photos and body-camera images.

One detail to emerge is that authorities were working to help victims within six minutes of Omar Mateen beginning his assault. By the time Mateen was dead, there were 300 law enforcement officers on the scene.

A detective was at the club when the shooting began, and fired several rounds at Mateen before radioing for help. Backup arrived one minute and 20 seconds later.

On the eve of the one-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, a friend of two of the victims places flowers as visitors continue to flock to the club to their pay their respects on Monday, July 11, 2016 in Orlando. 49 people were shot and killed at the club on June 12.  (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Mateen approached Pulse’s dance floor and fired his assault rifle, killing 20 people on the dance floor or near the stage. Nine more died in the northwest bathroom, four in the southwest bathroom, and three on stage. One person died on the patio and another in the front lobby.

Another 11 people succumbed to their injuries later at the hospital.

“So many victims were on the ground,” the report read, “one officer is heard saying, ’if you’re alive, raise your hand.'”

Most of the victims who were critically injured were taken out of the club by 2:35am. There were sill some being held hostage, as well as several club goers and dancers in various dressing rooms. At 5:02am explosives were used to breach the club and rescue remaining victims. But they didn’t fully breach the wall, so an armored vehicle was used.

Mina said that’s one area police could have handled better, by coordinating with the Orlando Fire Department, which was on the scene. He also said he doesn’t know if any victims fell prey to friendly fire.


In the investigation that followed, the FBI followed more than 1,600 leads, conducted 500 interviews, collected 950 pieces of evidence, issued 300 subpoenas and spent more than $450,000 on victim witness assistance funds.

Mateen perished in the assault, but his widow, Noor Salman, has been charged with aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.