The Latest: Protesters target Rubio in Pulse neighborhood

AP News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2016 5:42 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the investigation into the mass shooting at a gay Florida nightclub that left 49 people dead (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

More than two dozen protesters shouted chants against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio as he toured businesses that were forced to close for several days because of an investigation into the shooting deaths of 49 people at a nearby gay nightclub.

The protesters on Tuesday criticized Rubio's past stances against gun control and gay rights as he met with business owners about small-business loans that may be available to them because of lost revenue.

Rubio told reporters that he understood why the protesters were there. The Florida Republican made an unsuccessful bid earlier this year for the GOP presidential nomination.

Advocates of gun control measures and gay rights have targeted Rubio in the month since Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub, leaving 49 patrons dead and 53 people wounded.

Protesters held a sit-in last week in the lobby of the Orlando building where he has an office.

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4:45 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Justice argues that audio recordings of the Florida nightclub shooter talking to Orlando police dispatchers and 911 calls pertaining to the massacre are federal records and not subject to Florida's public records law.

The Justice Department said in a federal court filing Monday that the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is still investigating the Pulse nightclub shooting; therefore, the audio recordings can only be disclosed with FBI permission.

About two dozen new media organizations including The Associated Press are fighting to have the audio recordings released.

The news outlets argue that the release of the recordings will help the public understand the motive of gunman Omar Mateen, as well as help evaluate how the Orlando Police responded to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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11:45 a.m.

Officers describe hysterical patrons, bodies on the floor and victims' blood seeping into their uniforms as they pulled them out of a gay Florida nightclub where a shooter opened fire.

New police reports released Tuesday give greater detail about the Orlando police response to the June massacre of 49 patrons at the Pulse nightclub, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The officers who recount their role in the reports were the initial responders to a call from a fellow officer who was working security as gunman Omar Mateen began firing in the club. Some of those officers entered the club and were later relieved by SWAT team members.

Mateen died in a hail of gunfire after the SWAT team breached a wall in the club.

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3:15 a.m.

Newly released records show the gunman who opened fire at a Florida gay nightclub told his bosses he lied about having terrorist ties to get co-workers off his back about being Muslim.

In records released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office on Monday, Omar Mateen tells his employers he was repeatedly taunted for his religion in his job as a security guard at the county courthouse.

His remarks prompted an FBI investigation in 2013 and caused enough concern that officials asked employer G4S Secure Solutions to have him reassigned, away from the courthouse.

But the documents show the FBI didn't believe he was a terrorist and an agent told a sheriff's office major he didn't think Mateen "would go postal or anything like that."

Mateen's rampage left 49 victims dead and 53 wounded at the Orlando club.