Medical examiner: Victims kept separate from shooter in show of respect – WFTV Orlando

Updated: Jun 16, 2016 – 1:02 AM



 The medical examiner for Orange County said he has been too busy with the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting to come to terms with the tragedy.

In his first interview since the mass shooting, carried out by gunman Omar Mateen, Dr. Joshua Stephany said he only left the office over the past three days to sleep.

“Again, I didn’t watch TV, so I really couldn’t come to grasps how it was affecting the nation, how big it was,” Stephany said.



The medical examiner said he wanted to work quickly so the victims could be reunited with their families. By Wednesday afternoon, 42 bodies had been released.

“Those individuals were in our office safe, secure, by midnight Sunday,” Stephany said.

In total, 49 victims spent their final, living moments at Pulse.

The medical examiner said the shooter was transported, autopsied and stored completely separate from the victims.



“I don’t want to see the victims with the person that took their life, and I don’t think any of my staff wants to see that,” said Stephany, who explained the decision was made out of respect for the victims and their families.

Stephany said he didn’t know if the shooter’s body had been released yet.

The state provided two extra doctors and 40 extra staff members to help in the local office, which also set up a call center to communicate with the victims’ families.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims,” Stephany said. “My deepest sympathies and condolences.”

Tuesday was technically Stephany’s first official day in the chief’s position, even though he had served in the role on an interim basis for the past year and worked in the office since 2007.

Despite the large loss of life, the medical examiner said there was enough space at the office for all of the victims and doctors were still able to handle other death cases that were unrelated to Pulse.

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