Patience Carter, who was shot in both legs, spent hours as a hostage during the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting. She spoke to the media Tuesday from the Florida Hospital in Orlando about the traumatic experience trapped inside the Pulse bathroom with the gunman as well as the shooter’s comments to victims.
“We laid there for hours and hours,” Carter, a Philadelphia native who went to Pulse with two friends, said (via ABC News). “Throughout that period of hours the gunman was in there with us, [he] made a 911 call saying the reason why he is doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country, and then he pledged allegiance to ISIS.”
Mateen asked the hostages, many of whom barricaded themselves in stalls, whether there were any “black people” in the bathroom. “He said, ‘You know, I don’t have a problem with black people,” Carter said. “You guys have suffered enough.”
Carter said she first thought Mateen was toting a BB gun. It wasn’t until she saw the damage the assault rifle’s bullets were doing to the wall did she realize what was happening. Carter and the friend ran into the bathroom with other club-goers. However, Carter and her friend Akyra Murray were both shot, with one bullet piercing Carter’s left thigh and another shattering her right femur. Murray, at age 18, was the youngest victim killed in the massacre.
Carter said she “made peace with God within myself … I said, ‘God, if this is how I have to go, please take me, I just don’t want any more shots.”
The crisis ended when police broke through the bathroom wall and killed Mateen. However, debris and another man’s dead body pinned down Carter after the siege, and the broken pipes flooding water into the bathroom had Carter worried that she would drown. “I was able to sit up and pull my left leg from underneath the person who was killed in front of me,” Carter said of her escape.
49 people were killed and another 53 were injured in the horrifying shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history. “We just went from having the time of our lives to having the worst night of our lives,” Carter said.