Patience Carter, a victim in the Orlando nightclub shooting, lay bleeding on the bathroom floor at the Pulse nightclub. She said she looked into a stall next to her and saw blood all over the wall.
Later, she heard the gunman ask a question: “Where is it? Give it up.” He was referring to a ringing cell phone. Carter delivered her testimonial during a press conference aired by WESH-TV in Orlando.
Carter, 20, of Philadelphia recounted the harrowing tale of surviving the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history—the worst terrorist attack since 9/11. But before the gunshots, “we were just all having the night that we dreamed of. It was the most beautiful bonding experience three girls could have on their first night on vacation.”
“That’s when we started hearing the gunshots,” she added. “I was so confused.”
After that, she and one of her friends got separated from the third, but Carter insisted that she go back inside the club to look for that friend. As the gunfire continued, they went into the bathroom with others.
“I was even Snapchatting in the bathroom stall,” she said.
— amNewYork (@amNewYork) June 15, 2016
The gunman, later identified as Omar Mateen, entered the bathroom and opened fire. Carter said that blood was everywhere. She said she was shot in the leg and was trapped underneath another person for hours, reported PBS. The gunman was inside the bathroom the most of the time, and he even made a call to 911.
“We knew what his motive was. He wasn’t going to stop killing people until he was killed,” she said. He wanted America to stop bombing his country.
“He said, ‘Are there any black people in here?’ ” Carter added. “I was too afraid to answer, but there was an African-American male in the stall … He said, ‘Yes, there are about six to seven of us.’ “
Mateen then added: “You know, I don’t have a problem with black people,” according to Carter. “You guys suffered enough.”
Another unnamed witness agreed, telling Good Morning America that he was also in the bathroom during the shooting: “Then he asked, ‘Are you guys black?’ And a couple of them said ‘Yes,'” the victim said. “And he said, ‘I don’t have an issue with the blacks.'”
The man said Mateen, 29, spoke with people on the phone, telling them: “America needs to stop bombing ISIS.” The man said he and his friend played dead for three hours before they were rescued. At one point, he “felt something poke the back of my pocket … It was like one quick touch or poke … . And he was probably thinking I’m dead.”
After some time, Carter said she heard Mateen trying to fix his gun. Every time a phone would ring, he would demand: “Give it up.”
Hours later, Carter heard: “Move away from the wall!” That was the police, who blew a hole in the bathroom wall. They told Mateen to put his gun down and he refused, prompting cops to shoot him. Carter recalled pipes bursting and water filling up the floor.
“If they don’t get to me soon, I’ll die in pile of bloody water,” she recalled thinking.
Parker said one of her friends didn’t make it, but the other survived.
“I really don’t think I’m going to get out of there,” Carter recalled. “I made peace with God. Just please take me, I don’t want any more. I was just begging God to take the soul out my body.”
Carter also penned a poem about the tragedy:
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.
I never thought in a million years that this could happen.
I never thought in a million years that my eyes could witness something so tragic.
Looking at the souls leaving the bodies of individuals, looking at the killer’s machine gun throughout my right peripheral. Looking at the blood and debris covered on everyone’s faces. Looking at the gunman’s feet under the stall as he paces.
The guilt of feeling lucky to be alive is heavy. It’s like the weight of the ocean’s walls crushing uncontrolled by levies. It’s like being drug through the grass with a shattered leg and thrown on the back of a Chevy. It’s like being rushed to the hospital and told you’re gonna make it when you laid beside individuals whose lives were brutally taken.
The guilt of being alive is heavy.