Mateen holed up with four to five hostages in a bathroom, while 15 to 20 more people were trapped in another bathroom nearby, Mina said.
That’s when police backed off.“Based on statements made by the suspect about explosives and an explosive vest, we did retreat,” Mina said.
"He told us he had a wife and child."As soon as West saw photos of Mateen released after the shooting, he said, he drove to his local police station, where officers summoned FBI officials, who showed him a photo of Mateen on a computer screen.“I said, ‘That’s him,’” West said, and turned over his phone and Jack’d log-in information to the FBI, which still had the phone late Monday, he said.
“Some of the living covered themselves with the dead.”She and other officials have asked residents to hold off on staging a vigil until all the victims are identified.
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A team of negotiators arrived and began communicating with Mateen, who sounded “cool and calm,” Mina said.
Mina said negotiators didn’t have much leverage with the gunman.“He really wasn’t asking for anything,” the police chief said.
Some dreamt of becoming emergency medical technicians; others, photographers and nurses.