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Posted: July 13, 2018

Pulse shooting victim's mother pressing for FBI ballistics report

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images
Sam Jordan walks along a few of the tributes that sit in front of Pulse Nightclub, one year after the horrific attacks that killed 49 people inside the club.

By Shannon Butler and Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

ORLANDO, Fla. —

More than two years after a mass shooting at a Central Florida nightclub, survivors and victims' families are still left with questions.

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Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher Leinonen, was killed in June 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, has been asking the FBI for its ballistic report for more than a year, but she said she has not received it.

The FBI said the ballistics report is exempt from release because it could interfere with enforcement proceedings.

Christopher Leinonen was shot nine times in his chest and in the back of his legs.

Christine Leinonen said she has always wondered if those bullets came from both gunman Omar Mateen and police.

"Ballistics may not show that, but it can show that right now, we don't know," she said. "Everything is a mystery, and ballistics may keep it a mystery, but we don't know. It may answer questions, and these are questions I was asking the FBI over a year ago."

Leinonen said she was given hope in April when she received an email asking if she wanted a copy of the ballistics report.

She responded, saying that she would like a copy of the report, but it was never sent.

In an email on May 7, the FBI said the ballistics report was complete, but that the necessary Freedom of Information Act paperwork would first need to be filed. After the paperwork was done, another email was sent, saying that the report could not be released because it is only for law enforcement records.

"The public has to know. It's not just even a right to know. They need to know," Leinonen said. "With him dying, I want to know everything about it."

Leinonen attended the trial of Noor Salman, Mateen's widow, in hopes of learning new information about her son's death, but her questions about the bullets that killed her son weren't brought up during the proceedings.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto said families have a right to know. His office is trying to obtain the release of the report.

The FBI said Orlando police Chief John Mina had a chance to review the agency's findings, but nobody at the Orlando Police Department or the city of Orlando has a copy of the report.


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