A Delaware man’s cell phone may have protected him from further injury in the Istanbul terror attack during a New Year’s Eve celebration that left 39 dead and 70 others hospitalized, according to reports.
Jake Raak, 35, told NBC News that he survived the shooting in the Istanbul nightclub “Reina” by playing dead, even after he was shot by the suspect, who remains at large.
According to reports, the gunman, who has ties to ISIS, entered the club at about 1:15 a.m., killing a police officer who was guarding the gate of the club before shooting several people in what officials called a “cruel and cold-blooded act."
Raak narrowly escaped a life-threatening injury when a bullet, which doctors said could have hit a major artery, hit his cell phone before entering his leg, according to reports.
"When he shot me I didn’t move — I just let him shoot me,” he told NBC News. “I was shot when I was already on the ground. He was shooting people that he had already shot.”
Raak was on vacation at the time of the shooting and was at the club with a group of nine people, he said, seven of whom were shot.
Grace Raak, Jake’s mom, said her son is okay and doing well, according to the New York Daily News.
In a moment caught on camera by local reporters in the aftermath of the shooting, Raak can be seen being carried out of the club on a stretcher.
“I got shot in the f---ing leg, man,” he said.
The gunman shot and killed 24 men and 15 women during the 10-minute attack and fired 120 rounds, according to police.
On Monday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre and authorities are still searching for the terrorist in an international manhunt.
“All I can say it it’s a massive tragedy,” Raak told CBS News before leaving to the U.S. “For me I wake up in the United States, I eat breakfast. You guys wake up and to think of this. It’s so so sad. I really wish everybody here the best.”
Raak was the lone American wounded in the terror attack.