“I refuse to silently sit back and allow this negativity to shadow the emotional progress many of us have made..."
More than 35 survivors of the Pulse Nightclub massacre are suing the City of Orlando and its police department in federal court for what they claim was negligence in offering appropriate assistance during the mass shooting two years ago. That incident took the lives of 49 people and injured 53.
But one person who narrowly escaped gunman Omar Mateen’s lethal vengeance thinks the lawsuit is disquieting.
On the night of June 12, 2016, Mateen, emboldened by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISL), entered the popular club on its Latin night. At 2:02 am he successfully avoided Adam Gruler an off-duty police officer working security detail outside. Shortly after that encounter, Mateen made his way through the building and opened fire on the 320 people inside in what would become a three-hour standoff before he was successfully shot dead.
One of the people working inside was straight ally Ray Rivera also known as DJ Infinite. He is considered a hero who helped people during the rampage by hiding them under his DJ booth and shielding them from bullets as he led them to safety.
He thinks the recent lawsuit brought on by survivors and family members is wrong and upsetting.
“There was so much lost that night that none of us could have ever prepared for,” said Rivera in a statement to SDGLN. “Those of us inside that club will never be the same and I promise you neither will the owners of Pulse, or any emergency worker who responded to Pulse on June 12th, 2016.”
Rivera continues to say hate won’t win and that the survivors should be honored with messages of love and positivity and not a lawsuit of this nature because it may undo some of the healing survivors and families have already made.
“I refuse to silently sit back and allow this negativity to shadow the emotional progress many of us have made, or tarnish the memory of any of those 49 beautiful souls that a lawsuit will not bring back to us,” he said.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that Officer Gruler should be held accountable for failing to prevent Mateen from entering the club with an assault rifle. They also accuse another 30 officers of poor response times and faulty protocols including not charging after Mateen sooner. Rivera thinks that litigation is not going to prevent another mass shooting and more focus should be spent on thwarting terrorists from ever getting as far as Mateen did.
“If there is any effort being made to stop another Pulse Nightclub shooting we need to look at the events, actions, and clues missed before the shooter ever set foot at our front door," he said, adding, "I one hundred percent stand with my Pulse family".
As of this writing, the City of Orlando and its police department say they have yet to see the lawsuit.
"We can't comment on the substance of the litigation," they said in a statement. "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."
On July 12 Rivera will be coming to San Diego for the “OUT to End Gun Violence" concert at the Music Box.