Patience Carter, a 20-year-old NYU student, was on vacation with her two friends Akyra Murray, 18, and Tiara Parker in Orlando. All three of them were at Pulse on Sunday during what turned out to be the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history: Carter explained in a press conference today what it was like to get shot, find out her friend was dead, and how she's handling all of it.
"We were all having the night we dreamed of, going out on the first night of vacation," Carter said: "We just went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives all within a matter of minutes." NBC 10 reports Carter became trapped in the club bathroom Mateen wandered into while making his "cool and calm" 911 call: "People were getting hit by bullets, blood was everywhere and there was a moment when he stopped shooting in the bathroom."
Carter said she begged "God to take the soul out of [her] body because [she] didn't want to feel any more pain" after she was shot in the leg. She also said she laid in the bathroom bleeding for "hours and hours" and was pinned beneath another victim who died whose name she does not know and who blocked her from a spray of bullets. She believes said victim saved her life.
According to CBS News, Mateen asked the bathroom full of hostages if any of them were black. "I don't have a problem with black people," he reportedly said, "this is about my country. You guys suffered enough." Carter said while she was too scared to respond, another person did. It's unclear what happened to that person.
Even with a shattered femur, Carter went to find her friends Parker and Murray as soon as police blasted the bathroom wall open and killed Mateen. Parker survived the attack, but Murray did not. She was the youngest victim of the shooting.
Before Carter recounted any of the above, she read a poem (which you can watch here) beginning with the sentiment "The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy" aloud to reporters and explained writing was helping her heal.
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