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article image'I'm next. I'm dead' — Orlando shooting survivor recounts horror

By Kate Gillam, with Stephanie Griffith in Washington (AFP)     Jun 14, 2016 in World

Lying wounded on the floor of Pulse nightclub, with a gunman continuing to fire bullets into the motionless bodies of patrons all around him, Angel Colon thought it was his turn to die.

With three bullets in his leg, which was shattered as desperate clubgoers trampled him he was unable to run to safety.

And Omar Mateen, who had sprayed the popular nightclub in Orlando with bullets before briefly moving to another part of the venue, was heading back in his direction.

"All I could do was just lay down there while everyone was just running on top of me trying to get to where they had to be," Colon recounted Tuesday, alongside the emergency medical personnel he credited for saving his life.

"And all I could hear was the shotgun one after another, and people screaming, people yelling for help," he told reporters.

Two days after 49 people were killed and dozens of others grievously injured in America's deadliest mass shooting, Colon, his voice quivering, recalled how a festive evening out with friends turned into unfathomable horror early Sunday.

"We were just having a great time. We're all just there having a drink. It was shortly after two o'clock. We were saying our good-byes. I'm hugging everyone. It was a great night," Colon recounted.

"No drama, just smiles, just laughter."

- 'Shooting everyone' -

A short time before the club was due to close, the shooting started. Colon was hit in the leg.

Two days after 49 people were killed and dozens of others grievously injured in America's deadl...
Two days after 49 people were killed and dozens of others grievously injured in America's deadliest mass shooting, Angel Colon, his voice quivering, recalled how a festive evening out with friends turned into unfathomable horror
Brendan Smialowski, AFP

"I was shot about three times in my leg, so I had fallen down. I tried to get back up, but everyone started running anywhere. I got trampled over, and I shattered and broke my bones on my left leg. So by this time I couldn't walk at all," he said.

He briefly thought he had escaped death, when the shooter turned his weapons on victims in another part of the club.

"He goes into the other room, and I can just hear more shotguns going on. I thought I was a little safe at this time because, you know, it's giving everyone time to tackle him down or get him down," he said.

"Unfortunately, I hear him come back, and he's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor. Making sure they're dead," Colon said.

"I can hear the (gunshots) closer, and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me. And I'm just there laying down. I'm thinking, 'I'm next. I'm dead'."

The gunman shoots the already wounded Colon twice more, but somehow, the survivor said, "by the glory of God, he shoots towards my head but it hits my hand.

"Then he shoots me again and it hits the side of my hip," he recalled.

Colon was careful not to give away the fact that, despite having a half-dozen bullets lodged in his body, he was not dead.

"I had no reaction. I was just prepared to just stay there laying down so he won't know that I'm alive," he said.

"And he's just doing this for another five, ten minutes. He's just shooting all over the place."

- 'All this blood on me' -

The shooting continued, Colon said, until police who burst into the building traded fire with the gunman and rescued the survivors, three hours after the start of the ordeal.

Colon said a police officer dragged him to safety -- through broken glass.

"The floor is just covered in glass. So he's dragging me out while I'm just getting cut -- my behind, my back, my legs," Colon said.

"I don't feel pain, but I just feel all this blood on me from myself, from my other people."

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