Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lynch: DOJ will give $1 million to help pay first responders in Orlando mass shooting

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 5:00 PM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Department of Justice will make available $1 million to cover overtimes costs for state and local responders who helped during the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse. 

Lynch mentioned the award during her visit to Orlando on Tuesday. She adds that the department is also offering emergency counseling resources to first responders. In regards to victims and their families, the DOJ is working with the city of Orlando's Family Assistance Center to provide federal emergency funds and victim compensation funding for travel, medical and mental health expenses.

Florida Gov. Rick had criticized the federal government Monday after FEMA denied Scott's request for $5 million in emergency aid to pay for the costs of responding to the massacre, according to the Tampa Bay Times

Lynch says she met with U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley and his staff regarding the investigation into the shooting rampage of gunman Omar Mateen that left 49 dead and 53 wounded, but would not give further details. 

"There is no doubt that this was a shattering attack— on our nation, on our people and on our most fundamental ideals," she says. "But the message of Orlando goes far beyond one night of unspeakable terror. The message of Orlando that I have seen today— and what the American people have seen in the wake of this horrific assault— is a message of determination to remove hatred and intolerance from our midst; to live our lives freely and without fear; and to stay true to the principles of liberty, justice and equality that define America at our best." 

Lynch also stood firm behind the LGBTQ community, saying it was a "cruel irony that a community defined almost exclusively by whom they love is so often a target of hate." 

"Let me say to our LGBT friends and family, particularly to anyone who might view this tragedy as an indication that their identities— their essential selves— might somehow be better left unexpressed or in the shadows," she says. "This Department of Justice and your country stands with you in the light. We stand with you to say that the good in the world far outweighs the evil; that our common humanity transcends our differences; and that our most effective response to terror and hatred is compassion, unity and love." 

Lynch met with family members of the Pulse shooting victims earlier in the day and was set to meet later with first responders and law enforcement.  The Sun Sentinel reported Tuesday that Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating G4S, the security firm that employed Mateen, for a false statement on a character certification form that allowed the gunman to acquire a state license to carry firearms.

A psychologist who is listed on the form as having evaluated Mateen for mental and emotional stability says she never tested him. G4S maintains Mateen was evaluated but it was by a different psychologist, according to the Sentinel

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