Victims tell stories of survival from inside Pulse nightclub

- Taking cover in bathroom stalls, playing dead while bullets are shot directly at them; some incredibly emotional tales of survival have been told from people who survived inside Pulse nightclub.

These were people who, at certain points, were convinced they were going to die. Sadly, 49 of them did.

Now, as their wounds heal, three of the survivors are sharing their stories of fear, courage and even the guilt of making it out alive.

"I just hear shotguns going all over the place," said 26-year-old Angel Colon of Winter Haven.

"I just remember thinking, 'when is it going to stop?'" said 22-year-old Angel Santiago.

"We just went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives, within a matter of minutes," said 20-year-old Patience Carter.

Though left with cuts, gunshot wounds and broken bones, Carter, Santiago and Colon all share one thing in common: they survived. And they all felt fear and confusion early Sunday morning, when the first bullet popped inside Pulse nightclub.

"My friend and I fell to the ground to take cover. My initial thoughts were, 'maybe it's an altercation,'" said Santiago.

"Me and Akyra actually made it outside while the gunshots were still going off, and I said, 'where's Tiara, where's Tiara? I told her, 'let's go get Tierra, we've got to get Tierra,'" Carter recalled.

"Unfortunately, I was shot three times in my leg, so I fell down," Colon said. "I tried to get back up, but everyone started running everywhere. I got trampled over and I shattered and broke my bones on my left leg, so by this time I couldn't walk at all."

"It kept getting louder and closer and I can actually start to smell, I guess it's gun powder," Santiago remembered from hiding in a bathroom stall. "Everyone was just like, 'shh, shh, be quiet, be quiet,' and that's when bullets start going through the stall wall toward us."

"The gunman entered the bathroom and was shooting his machine gun, so we are all scrambling around the bathroom, screaming at the top of our lungs, when he was in there for the first time," Carter said. "People were getting hit by bullets. Blood is everywhere. Through the conversation with 911, he said that the reason he was doing this was because he wanted America to stop bombing his country."

"I look over and he shoots the girl next to me," Colon said. "I'm just laying down thinking, 'I'm next, I'm dead.' So, I don't know how, but by the glory of God, he shoots toward my head but it hits my hand. He shoots again and it hits the side of my hip. I had no reaction."

WATCH: Victims describe scene inside Pulse nightclub

"I was just begging God to please take me and I just wanted to close my eyes and just let him take the soul out of my body," Carter remembered. "I was begging God to take the soul out of my body because I didn't want to feel any more pain."

"I'm looking up and some cop, I wish I could remember his face or his name, because to this day I am grateful for him," said Colon. "He looks at me and makes sure that I'm alive. He grabs my hand and he's like, 'this is the only way I can take you out.'"

"The floor was just covered in glass," Colon continued. "So, he is dragging me out while I am just getting cut. My behind, my back, my legs. And I don't feel pain, but I just feel all this blood on me, from myself, from other people, and he just drops me off across the street. I look over and there's just bodies everywhere. We are all in pain."

Police and SWAT members eventually stormed the building, took out the shooter and rescued whoever they could, amid the blood, bodies and broken glass.

"I survived," Carter said.

But even survival leaves scars. Patience lost her best friend, Akyra Murray.

While doctors work to heal the physical wounds, poetry is helping Patience heal on the inside. Here's part of a poem she wrote from her hospital room:

The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy.
Wanting to smile about surviving but not sure if the people around you are ready.
As the world mourns the victims killed and viciously slain,
I feel guilty about screaming about my legs in pain.
Because I could feel nothing like the other 49
Who weren't so lucky to feel this pain of mine.


 

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