Hospitalized Victims Describe Orlando Attack: 'I Could Hear The Shots Getting Closer'
Victims from inside Pulse nightclub who were shot several times in Sunday's attack have begun speaking out from Orlando hospitals where nearly 30 victims continue to be treated.
Sitting in a wheelchair before a room packed to the gills with reporters from around the world, Angel Colon recalled that everyone was hugging goodbye after an amazing night when "out of nowhere we just hear a big shot."
The gunman continued firing, Colon said in his emotional remarks, and before he knew it, he had been shot as well.
"I was hit three times in the leg," Colon said, before the terrified, screaming crowd of hundreds began to trample him as they tried to scramble to safety.
Bleeding and motionless on the floor, Colon believed for the moment he was safe as the shooter – identified by authorities as Omar Mateen – took his reign of terror to another room.
But then he came back.
"He's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor," Colon recalled. "I can hear the shot guns closer and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me. And I'm just thinking I'm next, I'm dead."
Colon said the shooter pointed his gun right at him. "By the glory of God, he shoots toward my head but it hits my hand," he said.
Colon said the shooter shot again, this time striking him in the hip.
"I had no reaction, I was just prepared to stay there," he said.
Patience Carter, 20, a Philadelphia student who was vacationing with friends, was shot twice in the legs. Her best friend was killed during the attack, and Carter is struggling with guilt over being alive.
"I made peace with God," she said, as she cowered on a bathroom floor, bleeding and in terrible pain. "I was just begging God to take me. I didn't want to feel anymore pain. I didn't want to feel anymore shots," she said.
Her head was under a divider and she could see into the next stall, where "bodies were piled over the toilet. Some were dead, some were just moaning in pain," she said.
Angel Santiago, who was shot in the back, said he dragged himself across the floor to police who stormed the club. He lost a tremendous amount of blood, he said.
"Im just grateful to be alive. After seeing what occurred, I don’t know how I'm alive today," said the Florida man.
Colon, once he was finally rescued, recalled a painful ordeal of being dragged across of floor strewn with bloody broken glass as a heroic police officer pulled him to safety.
In a tearful expression of gratitude, Colon told the room full of medical staff at Tuesday's press conference "I will love you guys forever for doing that for me..."
Those staff members, many of whom rushed to their workplace after news of the shooting broke early Sunday morning, described a chaotic scene as "truckloads" of victims were dropped off at the trauma unit.
A hospital official told reporters that none of the victims have died at the facility since the first nine were brought in.
Six of the of the 27 victims they received are still in treatment, but remain critically wounded.
Five patients are in "guarded condition" and 16 are considered stable.
All told, 49 people were killed in Pulse, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Omar Mateen was shot and killed after a three-hour standoff with police.