At 2 a.m., the worst mass shooting in American history began.
Janiel Gonzalez (26 years old) said that he was sober when his watch stopped just before he walked up to Pulse nightclub’s bar.
“I ordered a Red Bull at the Bar. Last night, I decided to not drink alcohol. While I was signing my tab …”, Gonzalez imitated the bud-dudda sound he heard from the rapid gunfire.
He said that people initially thought it was fireworks for the music. He said, “But it became louder and more louder.” “It wasn’t until everyone started smelling the ammunition that everybody realized this was real life.”
Dozens upon dozens of people jumped to the ground and began climbing up over one another in search for an escape. Many fell on the floor, many of them trampled on glass from broken beer bottles that had been thrown by panicked patrons early in the morning.
“I can remember saying to myself, “This is not how I die ,”’ Gonzalez,” Gonzalez, 26.
“I fell to the ground and saw people covered in blood and crying. I felt like this was real life when I smelled the bullets and ammunition. This is what’s happening right now.
He claimed he didn’t see the gunman and that he was only 20 feet away in another room. He stated that he believed the initial blast of gunfire lasted between eight and nine minutes.
Gonzalez stated that Gonzalez kept shooting, shooting, shooting, rapid fire. “And he’d change clips, put in more ammunition — bud dudda. “I could smell the ammunition in the air.
He claimed he heard another gun coming from a different direction. So he wonders whether there were actually two gunmen.
“Everybody fell to the ground. We were trying find an exit. He said that the main exit was located right next to the entrance, where the shooter was filming.
“In a panic, we all crawled on the ground trying to find an exit. I glanced to my right and saw people peeking through curtains. We found a door by digging through the curtains.
He said that a man had blocked the door. He was unsure if the man was club security or an accomplice.
“Fifty people tried to leap over each other to escape the place. A man was standing at the door, refusing to let us go. He was like, “Stay inside, Stay Inside.” As he said that, the gunman keeps coming closer and closer to us, and the sound of the bullets is increasing. All of this causes panic. People are being trampled. We must get out !”’
Gonzalez thought it was a hate crime at first.
Gonzalez stated that he felt lucky because he was on the left side, while the gunman focused fire on his right.
“There are two wings when you enter the club. One is the right wing, and one is left. The shooter went straight to the right when he entered. He didn’t go to the left side, which is where most of my friends were. Everyone in the right room (wing) got hurt.
“I am pretty certain it was more than one person. Two guns were blaring simultaneously. It was extremely, very bizarre.
Gonzalez and his friend managed to get over the fence. He claimed that he had lost his shoe, stepped on a nail, and then cut his foot while he was walking outside.
“It was complete chaos”‘ when patrons finally left the club.
“People ran to hide at Wendy’s. Subway was the preferred hiding place for people. I was hiding in the fridge of a 7-11. Like the 7-Eleven manager. “Get in the back.
Gonzalez claimed that he became paranoid after he thought it was a hate crime against gay men and hid for 25 minutes in the women’s toilet.
He made arrangements for a friend who would pick him up from the outside. He said, “I limped towards the hospital and a buddy picked me up,”
His biggest takeaway from the tragedy was to be able to find the exits in every venue, no matter how small or large, he said. “I feel like we could have saved more people if I knew where the exits were.”
Gonzalez spoke to reporters from Orlando Regional Medical Center as helicopters flew overhead, just a few blocks away from the shooting.
Nina Justice was sitting on a bench in front of the hospital, crying with her face in both her hands. Just after 2 AM, she received a panicked phone call from Eddie, her son who was at the club when the shooting began. She received a text shortly afterward.
He texted her: “He’s taken us hostage. Jeff Robinson, Eddie’s cousin, said, “I love you mommy.”
Robinson stated that this was Justice’s last contact with her son. Robinson said that she had not heard from Eddie as of Sunday noon.