ORLANDO, FL (WTVM) - Following the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando where 50 people were killed and 53 were injured, the Orlando Police Department sprang into action and into a devastating scene.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina understands that call to action, and issued a note of gratitude to his department Sunday evening on social media.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all involved. I am very proud of the brave men and women of @OrlandoPolice— Chief John Mina (@ChiefJohnMina) June 12, 2016
His message, sent via email to his department, says:
On the darkest day of my 25 years at the Orlando Police Department, I wanted to take a moment to tell all of you how proud I am of the work you have done today and will do over the next days and weeks.
We have trained again and again for this type of situation. It’s unfortunate that we had to put those skills to use today. But because of that training and your professionalism, we saved dozens of lives this morning.
Even before the first patrol units arrived on the scene, an OPD officer working extra duty at the club engaged the gunman as he opened fire. Our First Responders and SWAT Team faced a hail of gunfire as they rescued the hostages, and we are blessed beyond words that none of them were gravely injured or killed.
We’ve received an enormous amount of tactical Law Enforcement support from local, state and Federal agencies. The outpouring we have received from our Central Florida community and Law Enforcement across the nation and the world, has overwhelmed me with gratitude.
I know that you have all been affected today by the tragic actions of a lone terrorist who cut short the lives of so many. Our community, our City, and our Department will be grieving in the days, weeks and months to come.
But on a day like today – and every day – I couldn’t be more proud to be your Chief.
Please hug your families tonight. And be safe out there."
John W. Mina, Chief of Police
A handful of victims have been identified; the shooter, who pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the shooting, was killed by law enforcement officers inside of the club.
"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct the Officer Involved Shooting investigation. The 11 OPD officers involved are relieved of duty, as is standard in any officer involved shooting," the City of Orlando said in their last briefing on Sunday.
The 29-year-old American-born man was investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. The FBI has considered the shooter's act as terrorism.
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