Police Who First Arrived And Broke Into The Pulse Nightclub Were Told To “Stand Down” By Superiors — but were ordered by commanders to hold their position, according to one of the officers, whose account contradicts the FBI version of events during the worst mass shooting in US history.
Belle Isle police officer Brandon Cornwell, 25 — the first officer to speak publicly about that night — said he was helping with a traffic stop when he heard the call on his radio that shots had been fired at Pulse.
He said he arrived “in 38 seconds” in one of the first seven police cars.
“Some ran towards the building; some stayed back with people running out,” he said. “There was tons of people running out of the club. I grabbed my assault rifle and ran toward the club. At this point, the shooter is still actively shooting inside.”
Cornwell converged on the south side of the building along with several other officers, the report said.
“There happens to be an (Orlando police) lieutenant commander who was there, and he says, ‘We’ve got to go in,’ ” Cornwell said. “No one disagreed. One of the officers busted out one of those side windows and we just went in and went from there.”
He said the team spent the first seconds “trying to locate exactly where the shooter was — we kept hearing people scream and shots fired,” the Washington Post reportedTuesday.
Cornwell said he and the other cops began “clearing rooms” and trying to locate the source of the gunfire. Within minutes, Cornwell said he and the other cops located Mateen in the bathroom area.
“We took up a tactical position by the bar standpoint in the middle of the club, he said.
Cornwell said Mateen was nowhere to be seen but “he was actively shooting.”
“I can’t say if he was targeting us. But he was still shooting in that location where he was at. There were bullet holes in the wall, so he had shot through the wall. But I couldn’t tell you if he was shooting at us,” he said.