Stories of those who survived the tragic Orlando massacre have begun to emerge online and they’re truly heartbreaking.
Those who managed to escape the chaos of Omar Mateen’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando have spoke of their confusion and terror at what happened, SkyNews reports.
26-year-old Daniel Gonzalez was signing his bar tab when the gunman entered the club and started shooting. Daniel described how he pushed himself to survive by telling himself: ‘This is not how I die.’
At first he believed the gunfire was fireworks, but as the bangs grew louder and he began to smell the ammunition he realised what was happening.
When people realised what was happening they dived to the ground and tried to climb over each other looking for an exit.
It was like a scene out of a movie. People were screaming, ‘Help me, help me, I’m trapped’. People were getting trampled. There was no clear exit sign at the club, so we didn’t know which door to take or where to go.
I remember telling myself: ‘This is not how I die’.
When I dropped to the floor and saw people crying and covered in blood. The scent of the ammunition and bullets, I was like: ‘This is real life. This is happening right now’.
Meanwhile Shawn Royster has described how everyone in the club was having a great time but the next thing he knew ‘it was like mayhem’.
Like Daniel he described hearing the sound of gunfire and people panicking. He struggled to understand what was going on but heard the gunman’s victims screaming and yelling.
Honestly my mind was so gone at that point – probably a good minute, a good two minutes.
They were like dragging bodies, people that were wounded, just to get them out of the way… Probably the worst fear I ever felt in my entire life.
It just seems like it never was going to stop.
Shawn eventually managed to escape by running away and hiding under a truck across the street from the club.
In another room in the club Jon Alamo had spent hours dancing when he decided to head in to the main room, just as Mateen opened fire.
He described Mateen as holding his gun like a ‘marine’ and shooting from left to right. Alamo’s only thoughts were that he was going to die, and he prayed to God that he’d live to see another day.
The bouncers working at the club are believed to have saved a number of lives as witness Rob Rick explained how they smashed down a barrier between the club area and an area reserved for workers, which allowed people to escape through the back.
Unfortunately not everyone was so lucky.
Eddie Justice, 30, text his mother, Mina, as the gunman committed his atrocious crime, telling her ‘Mommy I love you’ telling her he was trapped in the bathroom, and asking her to call the police.
Mina Justice continued to text her son until he stopped replying. City officials confirmed that Eddie had been found dead this morning.
Our thoughts are with the victims friends and families.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.