Almost two years after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 inside a Florida nightclub, survivors have filed a lawsuit against the city of Orlando and its police officers.
On Thursday, more than 35 survivors and families of victims claimed that the civil rights of the patrons of Pulse nightclub were violated when police did not enter the building to confront the gunman.
Among those being sued was Adam Gruler, an Orlando police officer who was working an extra shift at the club the night of the shooting.
The lawsuit said that Gruler "abandoned his post," allowing shooter Omar Mateen to enter the club, scout out the space and leave to retrieve weapons before returning to carry out the massacre.
Gruler fired at Mateen from two spots outside the club after the shooting began. He was hailed as a hero by city officials and even received an invitation to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.
Officials estimated that Mateen fired more than 200 rounds of ammunition in less than five minutes.
"I believe victims of the Pulse shooting deserve better. We deserved better,'' victim Keinon Carter said during the news conference. "We deserved to be rescued sooner by law enforcement.''
The lawsuit also said victims were not allowed "to use their phones, contact their loved ones or leave" after officers ended the standoff by shooting Mateen through a wall, killing him.
Orlando city officials and the city's police department released a joint statement Thursday but declined to comment on the lawsuit.
"On the morning of June 12, 2016, federal, state and local law enforcement officers and first responders put themselves in harm's way to save as many lives as possible. Our first responders are committed to the safety of this community, and they stand ready to protect and serve,'' it said.
Gruler also did not comment.
At the time, the shooting at the Pulse nightclub was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. It has since been surpassed by the massacre in Las Vegas in which 58 people were killed.