As more details emerge from the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, many have been left wondering why it took three hours to end the bloody siege.
After gunfire erupted, police made a critical decision to back off, knowing there were dozens – perhaps hundreds – of potential hostages inside. In addition, the shooter hinted he had a bomb.
Wally Zeins, a former NYPD hostage negotiator, said many factors are at play in a tense situation like the one that unfolded in the early morning hours of Sunday.
Zeins told Inside Edition: “There are a lot of variables that came into play – 2 a.m., do they have a full time SWAT team working and do they have a hostage negotiator working?”
He added: “They have to regroup and think. You have 300 people in there; you have injured people in there. If an explosion goes off you can have a mass casualty incident,” Zeins said.
At 5 a.m. the decision was made to go in, breaking through a wall in the nightclub with a Bearcat. Hostages ran out but so did the shooter, Omar Mateen, who cops quickly took out in a hail of gunfire.
“The longer the negotiation, the better chances of a successful outcome,” Zeins said, “I believe that they made the right decision based upon they had negotiations going on during that time period.”
Prior to the deadly massacre, Mateen tried to purchase body armor that could have deflected the police bullets.
The armor is easy to find online, in order to purchase all that needs to be provided is a driver’s license and a signed document stating the purchaser isn’t a felon.
There is no law prohibiting the sale of body armor but many stores refuse to sell to civilians.