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Pulse Nightclub Shooting Video Shows Police Praying Before Engaging Shooter: 'Lord Jesus, Watch Over Me'

( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2017 01:00 PM EDT
A Florida police officer can be heard praying and asking God for protection before engaging the Pulse nightclub shooter in new bodycam video released this week.
The 15-hours of footage reveal the horrors Florida police officers encountered as they responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando almost a year ago. Orlando Sentinel

A Florida police officer can be heard praying and asking God for protection before engaging the Pulse nightclub shooter in new bodycam video released this week.

The 15-hours of footage, released Wednesday to ABC News, the Orlando Sentinel, and the newspaper's news partner, Fox 35, reveal the horrors officers encountered as they responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando almost a year ago.  

The attack was carried out on June 12, 2016 by Omar Mateen, who identified himself as an "Islamic soldier." The attack left 49 dead and dozens injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

In the footage, Belle Isle Police Officer Brandon Cornwell takes cover behind a bar as officers fire at Mateen and instruct him to come out "with his hands up."

As the standoff continues, Cornwell can be heard saying a prayer: "Lord Jesus, watch over me," he said.

Mateen, 29, also held others hostage during a three-hour confrontation that ended when police stormed the building and killed him.

At one point, officers entering the building for the first time scream: "Let me see your hands! Come out with your hands up or you will die!"

In other clips, officers can be heard expressing shock over the carnage: "This is going to be astronomical numbers," an officer says. In another clip, "We probably got about 20 gunshot victims, we're going to need a lot of people."

"Who still has gloves so we can check this one's pulse, did anyone check this one?" an officer asks.  A few seconds later, another officers says: "I got no pulse."

Other videos showed officers clearing the entrance, one of the bathrooms, helping victims outside, and pulling victims out of the building, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The footage also includes recordings of police negotiators discussions with Mateen during the standoff in the bathroom following his murder spree.

"I want to let you know I'm in Orlando and I did the shooting. I pledge my allegiance to al-Baghdadi on behalf of the Islamic State," he said, referring to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

"They need to stop the US airstrikes. You have to tell the US government to stop bombing."

Mateen's family has since maintained the attack had "nothing to do with religion" and said the shooter wasn't particularly religious, according to CNN. Matten's father told reporters his son may have committed this crime because he saw "two men kissing in Downtown Miami a couple months ago."

However, in a blog post, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and former Muslim, dismissed the family's claims, stating that while many Muslims are "loving, peaceful people who would never want to hurt any American or homosexual," Islam itself "has always taught that gays should be executed."

"How do we not react against all Muslims despite the fact that Islam has always taught such violence?" he asks. "My answer is simple: truth and love. This may sound trite or fanciful, but I am not advocating a whimsical or baseless love, which would never stand in the face of Jihad."

He added, "I think we must respond with a love grounded in truth and self-sacrifice, reflecting the person and heart of Jesus Christ. After all, he died not slaughtering his enemies, but forgiving them. And Christians are to follow in our Savior's steps."

Tags : Pulse nightclub, Terrorist Attack, Omar Mateen, gay club, Homosexuality, Muslim, Islam, ISIS, police officer, Florida attack