Since the Orlando nightclub mass shooting over the weekend, many on the internet have been speculating about the possibility of there having been more than one shooter because of the extraordinary amount of people that were killed and injured as well as the fact the shooter had only two guns, which would have required him to change magazines several times throughout the rampage.
But now it’s beginning to look like some of those killed or wounded in the Pulse gay nightclub massacre were actually shot by policemen in what is called “friendly fire.”
Friendly fire is described by Wikipedia as “an attack by a military force on friendly forces while attempting to attack the enemy, either by misidentifying the target as hostile, or due to errors or inaccuracy.”
In the case of the Orlando shooting, which ended up with 49 people killed and 53 injured – and is now being billed at “the deadliest shooting in U.S. history” – it may only be a matter of time before we learn that police shot innocent bystanders during the rampage.
But then again, considering the shooter was using what Sig Sauer MCX carbine, which is described as an “AR-15 type of rifle,” and the Orlando police officers and the Orange County sheriff’s deputies were probably using AR-15s, which is the most popular gun used by SWAT teams, it might be difficult to prove which victims were shot by which guns considering both guns can use the same caliber.
And would police even admit to shooting innocent citizens?
As it is right now, police are already having a hard time explaining why it took them three hours to enter the club after Omar Mateen first exchanged gunfire with an off-duty Orlando police officer who had been working security at the Pulse nightclub that night.
The answer to that is probably “officer safety,” the notion that cops must do all they can to ensure their safety, even if it means putting the safety of citizens at risk.
But now the question is, did they shoot and kill innocent people as they gunned down Mateen?
Law enforcement officials ensure this will all come out in the investigation.
In Monday’s news conference, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said the investigation will determine whether any inside the club were killed by “friendly fire.”
“The shooter we know had an AR-15 type of rifle, and a Glock 9 mm pistol — were those two the only two weapons used inside the club,” said Clinton Van Zandt, a former FBI criminal profiler and former FBI chief hostage negotiator. “Did he simply use the rifle, or the rifle and the handgun?”
SWAT teams with an armored vehicle punctured a hole in a wall that Mateen was barricaded behind, while holding hostages. When Mateen emerged, he exchanged gunfire with law enforcers, and was shot dead.
“Of course, one of the terrible questions that has to be answered, is of the killed and wounded, was this all done by the shooter, or could it have been accidentally done by law enforcement in their exchange,” said Van Zandt. “A bullet travels at thousands of feet a second, and can penetrate multiple walls once it’s been fired.”
Van Zandt said the shooting reconstruction, when used in conjunction with autopsy results, will verify how each person died.
The possibility that some of the victims were killed by friendly fire is even being discussed by police on social media.
Even Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, who usually reserves his social media commentary for doxing citizens trying to hold police accountable, posted the question to his Facebook friends, most whom are police officers, including one Miami-Dade officer who raised the possibility of friendly fire.
While police officers like to pride themselves on their expert training when it comes to guns, friendly fire is not as uncommon as many people would like it to be.
But it usually involves police shooting each other as they try to shoot a suspect.
So while many people on the internet are speculating that there could have been an additional two gunmen, accusing the media of participating in a coverup, the most likely scenario is that several, if not many, of the gunshot victims were shot by police.
The fact that police are saying about to arrest of an accomplice does not mean there were other gunmen in the room. It just means perhaps one of his family members knew what he was going to do and did nothing to prevent it.
But we may never get to confirm this because not only would cops be reluctant to admit this, it would put a damper in the “cops are heroes “ narrative that the media loves to play during these types of incidents.