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Patience had only met her best friend’s cousin, Akyra, a handful of times prior to the Orlando trip but instantly felt a special connection to her.
“I was having fun that night dancing together and stuff, realizing this girl, we’re definitely about to be best friends,” she said. “Picture that ultimate girl’s night out. Super fun, laughed the whole time, made a bunch of friends, felt completely comfortable, and had so much fun the entire night.”
The girls were getting ready to order an Uber and head back to their vacation home when they heard a loud noise coming from the next room.
“We’re still happy, like we’re still in that in that mind frame, so switching so fast to try and to figure out what that noise is, that’s where we’re kind of like in shock,” Patience shared, while reflecting on their mindset that night. “Like we didn’t really think that these are gunshots going off in that moment.”
Patience and Akyra Murray instantly started moving backward and out the back door of the nightclub. Parker ran toward the bar. When the two realized Parker was still inside, they ran back into the nightclub and all three of them followed a group that was running into the bathroom to hide.
“We found a handicapped bathroom stall in the back. It had about 20 people in the stall already. We could still hear gunshots going off people screaming. We could see people reacting and we can feel ourselves being terrified. But at the same time there was no clarity on what was truly going on,” Patience said.
She said the gunman, later identified as Omar Mateen, entered the bathroom where they were hiding.
“It became shockingly clear that this was an actual life-or-death situation,” Patience said. “He just came in guns blazing into the bathroom, firing at everything, the bathroom stalls, the walls, everything was flying everywhere.”
Patience said Mateen stopped his shooting rampage, yelling that his gun had jammed. After he left the bathroom, she looked down and noticed a hole the size of a quarter in her right leg.
Over the next three hours, Mateen would leave and enter the bathroom multiple times. Patience said he spoke to the hostages and asked them questions. He warned them to not call 911 while making several phone calls to 911 himself pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State.
I was completely hopeless. I was just fearful of the most gruesome death ever.