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Medical Examiner Refused To Keep Orlando Shooter's Body With Victims

“This is not a law or requirement, but was rather done out of respect for the victims and their families so that the shooter may never be near the 49 beautiful souls again."

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The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida — the department tasked with handling the remains of the 50 dead in the Orlando massacre — announced that they kept the shooter's body in a separate building “out of respect for the victims and their families so that the shooter may never be near the 49 beautiful souls again.”

In a statement, the chief medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Stephany, said the shooter’s body was transported “separately from the scene” and “held in a separate building” at their facility.

“The shooter’s autopsy was also conducted in another building, away from the victims,” he added.

Stephany made it clear that the move was not “a law or requirement” but a choice he made out of “respect for the victims and their families.”

“This has been the most difficult week for our community,” Stephany said. “I’d like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of singer Christina Grimmie, the Pulse nightclub shooting victims and 2-year-old Lane Graves.”

The Voice singer Christina Grimmie was shot by a gunman and died one day before the Pulse shooting. Two days afterward, Lane Graves died of drowning and traumatic injuries after an alligator dragged the boy into a lake at a Walt Disney World hotel.

The Medical Examiner’s Office identified, performed autopsies, and notified the family members of all 49 people who died when 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Stephany said that their jobs go beyond assisting law enforcement, but are also to “ensure families receive the necessary care and support during this difficult time as well as reunite them with their loved ones.”

Stephany wrote that they were able to complete the arduous and grisly process within a 72-hour period, one he called a “monumental task.”

You can read Dr. Stephany’s entire statement here.

Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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