ORLANDO — A man who survived the nightclub shooting in Orlando described the horrific night during a news conference on Tuesday at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Appearing in a wheelchair with the doctors and nurses who treated him nearby, Colon talked about what happened early Sunday at the Pulse nightclub.
“We were all just having a great time. We were all just there having a drink.It was shortly after 2, we’re saying our goodbyes. I’m hugging everyone. It was a great night. No drama, all smiles, just laughter,” said Angel Colon. “Out of no where we just hear a big shotgun. We stop what we’re doing and it just keeps going.”
“We grabbed each other and started running. Unfortunately, I was shot 3 times in my leg… I had fallen down. I tried to get back up but everyone started running everywhere. I got trampled over…. I couldn’t walk at all. Everyone was just running on top of me, trying to get to where they needed to be,” Colon recalled with difficult emotions.
“By this time this man goes into the other room.. I thought I was a little safe at this time because it’s giving everyone time to tackle him down or get him down.”
But the gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, returned to the room where Colon was lying on the floor.
Colon said Mateen shot a girl next to him.
“I can hear the shotguns closer and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me,” Colon said. “I’m next, I’m dead,” he said he thought.
“I don’t know how but by the glory of god he shoots toward my head.. but hits my hand,” Colon described.
The gunman then shot again at Colon, this time hitting his hip. He says he pretended to be dead and the gunman kept firing his gun.
Colon says at times the gunman was shooting people who appeared that they had already been killed.
Colon also described the police officer who dragged him out of the club. He says he wishes he knew his name.
“He looks at me. He makes sure that I’m alive. He grabs my hand. He starts to drag me out across the street to a Wendy’s. He’s dragging me out while I’m just getting cut,” Colon said, adding that there was glass everywhere from the gunshots and the efforts to escape.
“I don’t feel pain but I just feel all this blood coming from myself, from my other people,” he said. “He drags me across the street and I look over and there were just bodies everywhere.”
Colon thanked the hospital staff and said “I will love you guys forever.”
At the same news conference, doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Center that treated nightclub massacre victims described the chaotic night of patient after patient arriving for trauma treatment.
“Truckloads” and “ambulance-loads” of patients.
Dr. Kathryn Bondani said the first patient that arrived was relatively stable, and the staff hoped that others would be in a similar condition. But the doctors soon got about five patients in much worse shape.
Dr. Chadwick Smith choked up a bit talking about the night. He described calling in additional staff and telling them, “This is not a drill, this is not a joke.”
He says everyone answered “I’ll be right there,” and dozens of doctors and nurses showed up to help.
Doctors also said they used all the emergency room supplies and had to call for additional supplies. At Orlando Regional Medical Center, 44 patients were brought in early Sunday morning. Of those, 27 remain in the hospital, with 6 of those in intensive care. Five patients are in guarded condition, while 16 are considered stable.
Dr. Michael Cheatham said they are doing everything they can for the critically injured patients and he asked people to pray for them.
The doctor added: “The big question is what their long-term outcome will be.”
He says he suspects they may survive but will likely have lasting impacts on their health and functionality.