FBI gives back some personal items to Pulse victims, families

FBI gives back some personal items to Pulse survivors, families

The FBI this week returned some personal items to survivors and the families of those killed in the Pulse nightclub attack.

The FBI collected more than 1,000 items during its investigation into the June 12 massacre in Orlando that left 49 dead and at least 68 injured, according to a letter sent to the victims.

The FBI made the items available for pickup from Tuesday through Thursday at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort, 9939 Universal Boulevard.

Pulse survivor Orlando Torres said he picked up an old work ID badge, a credit card and a cellphone case Wednesday evening.

Torres said agents took him into a ballroom with tables. He described the items he was missing and an agent retrieved them.

Torres said the FBI would not give him back his phone because the shooting is still under investigation. He said he used it to record a video from where he was hiding in a bathroom.

While it didn't show anything, it did capture the sounds of gunshots in the background, he said.

"I wanted to record something so they could have something in case I was killed," Torres said.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said the items were "strictly personal in nature, not evidentiary." She would not comment further.

"The FBI's Office for Victim Assistance arranged for the cleaning of these items and they are now ready for return," the letter to the victims stated.

Torres escaped after police used explosives to blow holes in the walls of the club. Law officers killed gunman Omar Mateen several hours after the shooting started.

Torres was not seriously injured.

He said he didn't mind that it took six months to get his stuff back. He was able to get a new phone in the days after the attack.

"Those first few days I was too busy going to vigils and funerals," he said. "I wasn't thinking about my stuff."

dharris@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5471

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