Orlando Shooting: Amid the Horror at Pulse Nightclub Heroes Emerged From the Crowd
In the midst of horror and tragedy, heroes emerge from the crowd.
That was the case early Sunday morning when the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place in Orlando, leaving 49 dead and 53 wounded.
Out of this senseless act of violence, heroes rose to the call.
Heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to save others.
Heroes who were enjoying their night before chaos erupted.
Here are their stories.
Joshua McGill and his friends fled the Pulse nightclub after hearing multiple loud bangs. McGill hid behind a car in a parking lot when he noticed a man with multiple gunshot wounds to his arms and back.
The man was Rodney Sumter Jr., a 27 year-old bartender at the club. McGill, a nursing student, pulled Sumter behind the car and used his shirt to make a tourniquet on Sumter’s arms. Then he helped the man to a safe area and used the victim’s shirt to stop the bleeding on his back.
“I told him ‘Everything would be OK,'” the 26 year-old told CNN’s Don Lemon. “‘I got you, just calm down. I need to cut off as much blood as I can.'”
McGill rode with Sumter to the hospital to keep pressure on the wounds and help him stay calm and alert.
“‘I promise you, God’s got this. You’ll be OK,'” he recalled saying. “I was mainly scared. I was like ‘God, don’t make me break my promise.'”
McGill later learned Sumter was in stable condition.
Saturday night was Christopher Hansen’s first time at Pulse. He was at the nightclub by himself and was zigzagging out of the club when he came across a young woman who was shot in the arm.
“I’m not going to leave these victims behind,” he told CNN’s New Day. “I wanted to make sure she was alert. I was not leaving her until she was assisted.”
Hansen also helped a club bartender and made sure she was safe while she searched for her girlfriend in the crowd.
Ray Rivera, a.k.a DJ Infinite, was the DJ at the nightclub on the patio. He told CNN’s Erin Burnett that it was around 2 a.m. and he was spinning some mellow reggae music to signal it was almost time for guests to leave. Then he heard a noise.
“So I kind of bring the music down a little bit,” he said, “And I heard it again and I turned the music all the way off. And I hear it again and that’s when everybody came barreling out to get out and was, you know, jumping over fences and stuff.”
He said a man and woman took cover beneath his DJ booth.
“The guy, he took off, and the girl was down there panicking, so I kind of told her she needed to be quiet. And as soon as there was a break in the shots, I kind of just pushed her and said, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ And we ran out the door and the cops were having us go around the corner where there were no bullets or anything.”
Edward Sotomayor Jr.
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34, was one of the first victims identified in the mass shooting at Pulse.
He died trying to shield his boyfriend from a hail of bullets. Nicknamed “Tophat Eddie” for the black top hat he always wore, Sotomayor was a brand manager for the LGBTQ online travel agency ALandCHUCK.travel.
Friends flooded social media with their memories of Sotomayor.