When it was all over and the first of the responders in Orlando made their way through the cavernous nightclub, feet gingerly stepping over the bloody bodies sprawled all around, they called out, “If you’re alive, raise your hand.”
Around them, the unanswered cell phones of victims chirped incessantly — a soundtrack to a carnage, the likes of which America has never seen.
For three harrowing hours, as the gunman took hostages, they crouched in a dressing room or in the air conditioning vents.
One person hid in the bathroom and said she survived by covering herself with bodies.
Helpless, trapped, shocked and scared, they texted their loved ones, pleading for help.
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, a 30-year-old accountant, sought shelter in the bathroom from where he texted his mom:
Mommy I love you
In the club they shooting
Trapp in the bathroom
Im gonna die
His mother, Mina Justice, tried to reassure him that she’d called 911 and help was coming:
Calling them now.
U still there?
Answer your phone.
Justice replied: Call them mommy
Im still in the bathroom
Im going to die
He then went silent. He was among the 49 who didn’t make it.