Six people are still in intensive care after the Orlando club attack, with one victim saying he escaped death when the killer aimed at his head but hit his hand, Sky News reports.
Doctors described seeing the “full gamut of wounds” after Sunday’s attack that left 49 dead – injuries to the extremities, the abdomen and large soft tissue wounds. One victim – appearing alongside doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Centre – said he was left helpless after being shot three times in the leg with people “running on top of me” to escape.
“All I could hear was the shotgun, one after another and people screaming, people yelling for help,” said Angel Colon. After killer Omar Mateen opened fire in another area of the gay club, Mr Colon told reporters: “I hear him coming back and he’s shooting everyone that’s already dead on the floor, making sure they’re dead.
“I was able to peek over and I can just see him shooting at everyone. I can hear the shotguns closer and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me. “I’m just there laying down and I’m thinking, ‘I’m next, I’m dead.’ “So I don’t know how, but by the glory of God, he shoots towards my head but it hits my hand.
“And then he shoots me again and it hits the side of my hip.” Mr Colon said Mateen had continued hunting down victims “for another five, 10 minutes” in the Pulse nightclub with “bodies everywhere”. He described the deafening gun battle as police exchanged fire, and said an officer eventually dragged him to safety across a floor of broken glass.
“I am looking up and some cop that I wish I could remember his face or his name, because to this day I’m grateful for him,” he said. “He looks at me, he makes sure that I’m alive. “He grabs my hand and he’s like, ‘this is the only way I can take you out’ … I’m grateful for him but the floor is just covered in glass.”
Mr Colon said he was cut all over his behind, his back and legs, adding: “I don’t feel pain, but I just feel all this blood on me – from myself, from my other people.” Doctor Will Havron told reporters at the news conference the night was a “surreal experience” as medics rushed from patient to patient to treat the terrible injuries.
Twenty-seven people are still being treated in the Orlando hospital, with six of them in intensive care. It comes amid reports Mateen had been seen at least a dozen times at the club where he carried out the killings, with some men saying he had also messaged them on gay chat apps.
“You hear the gunshots getting closer and closer and closer,” said Mr Casiano. “A gentlemen stumbles into the bathroom and collapses at the stall door and he’s begging to come inside the stall. “We’re trying to get him in but he wouldn’t fit underneath, the door wouldn’t open because there are bodies piled up – everyone’s hiding.”
As the people in the cubicle tried to reassure the man, Mateen burst into the room, “shot him one last time” and laughed. “He’s laughing, that’s when he fires through the whole front of the stall, just free-fired and that’s when I got my first two wounds,” said Mr Casiano.
After spraying the room with bullets, Mateen left. Mr Casiano, with four wounds in his side, made a frantic call to his family – with his battery cutting out mid-call, and then took the agonising decision to risk an escape.
Hearing police voices and seeing torchlight in the distance, he hauled himself over the toilet stall as others refused to leave. He was rescued from the nightmare after officers found him and took him outside to a stretcher. President Barack Obama is due to visit Orlando on Thursday and has reiterated that there was still no proof Mateen was directed by terror groups.
He said it was clear, however, that he had “absorbed” radical propaganda and been influenced by Islamic State. US media have reported Mateen made a phone call before the massacre where he declared allegiance to IS. Mr Obama said the “thugs” and thieves” of IS, also known as ISIL, were being increasingly weakened and demoralised by the coalition targeting the group in Syria and Iraq.
“This campaign at this stage is firing on all cylinders, and as a result ISIL is under more pressure than ever before,” the President said. “Our message is clear, if you target America and our allies you will not be saved.”