While many are still trying to wrap their heads around the heinous Orlando Shooting Massacre, which left 50 people dead, one survivor, Patience Carter spoke out Tuesday (June 13) to detail her account of the horrific crime.
Carter says she and two of her friends were in Orlando on vacation and Googled Pulse nightclub to enjoy what she described as the perfect night. Moment after ordering an Uber to leave, that’s when Carter said she heard the shots.
“At first we didn’t know they were gunshots. I didn’t know. I was so confused. Like, wow, a club would do all this to get people to leave their club. I thought it was BB Gun at first, or the DJ was playing some sort of sound of gunshots, I didn’t think they were actually gunshots. But the fear inside me made me drop to the floor anyway.”
Thankfully, Carter was close enough to the door where she and her friend could get out, but chose to go back inside for the third girl they came with. Once inside, they were engulfed in the thick of the chaos as clubgoers scrambled to hide or take cover from the shooter– Omar Mateen–who continued to fire off shots from his AR-15 assault rifle.
“It was shocking,” Carter said to a room full of press. “We just went from having the time of our lives, to the worst night of our lives in a matter of minutes.”
Carter and her two friends ran into the bathroom along with others and says it was there she realized she was shot in the leg, and another friend in the arm. Carter then says the gunman came in called 911 and explained his quarrel is with America, not with black people.
“Throughout that period of hours, the gunman was in there with us and he actually made a call to 911 and everybody could hear, who was in the bathroom who survived, could hear him talking to 911, saying that the reason why he’s doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country, and from that conversation to 911 he pledged his allegiance to ISIS.”
“After that he even spoke to us directly in the bathroom. He said “Are there any black people in here?” I was too afraid to answer. But there was an African-American male in the stall where most of my body was, and he had answered and he said ‘Yes, there are about six or seven of us.’ and the gunman responded back to him saying ‘I don’t have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough’ He made a statement saying it wasn’t about black people. This isn’t the reason why he’s doing this, but through the conversation with 911, he said the reason why he’s doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.”
As the FBI and investigators continue to piece together the timeline of events which led to the horrific tragedy on June 12, reports indicate Mateen chose Pulse–a gay nightclub–because he was irate after seeing two men kissing, but it’s also reported he used a gay dating app in the past, and also frequented the club on many occasions.
Before giving her account of the night, Carter recited a poem she wrote, which she says has helped in her grieving process. Watch her read her poem below.