Patience Carter also heard the gunman, Omar Mateen, say he launched the attack “to get America to stop bombing his country”
Patience Carter, who was shot in the Orlando attack, said that gunman Omar Mateen told her and other victims that he “did not have a problem with black people,” that he thought they “had suffered enough,” and he was “doing this to get America to stop bombing his country.”
News 6 / Via clickorlando.com
Carter, 20, was on vacation in Orlando with her best friend's family when she, her friend Tiara Parker, 20, and Parker's cousin, Akyra Murray, 18, decided to go to Pulse night club.
“We were having the time of our lives, Akyra was being the life of the party, everyone loved and adored her,” Carter said from a wheelchair at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “It was the most beautiful bonding experience three girls could have.”
Minutes after Parker ordered an Uber to take them back to the hotel, Omar Mateen opened fire into the club, killing 49 people and injuring 53.
“We went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives in a matter of minutes,” Carter said.
Though she said she didn't immediately register what was happening, Carter dropped to the ground and began crawling toward the door. She and Murray made it outside the nightclub when they realized Parker, Murray's cousin, was missing.
They rushed back inside amid gunfire and found Parker. They took cover in a bathroom with a group of other people.
“It still wasn't real to me yet, I was still Snapchatting after we squeezed into the stall,” Carter said.
Soon after they got into the stall Mateen entered the bathroom and began shooting at it.
At first, Carter said she thought it was a BB gun because she felt small objects hitting her legs. She soon realized it was pieces of the stall door flying toward her.
Carter was shot in both legs, Parker in the side, and Murray in the arm. The people in the stall dropped to the floor, and someone fell on Carter's shot leg. She lay down and looked into the stalls next to her.
“Bodies were pulled on top of each other on the toilet seat,” she said, “There were handprints on everything, and blood.”
She looked next to her and saw Parker sitting with her cousin lifeless in her lap.
“I asked, 'What's wrong with Akyra?'” Carter said. The man next to them took Murray's pulse and said she was still alive.
“I saw her phone so I picked it up … because I thought I would be able to give it back to her once we got to the hospital,” Carter said as she began to cry. Murray died.
“Her mother told me not to blame myself, but it's hard.”
After shooting at the stall, Mateen made a 911 call in the bathroom, Carter said. “He said the reason why he was doing this is he wanted America to stop bombing his country.” (Mateen was born in the U.S.)
Mateen had multiple conversations with the remaining people in the bathroom, Carter said.
People's phones kept buzzing and ringing and people were calling 911 and their families. Mateen told everyone to stop using their phones, Carter said, told them to give the phones to him whenever he heard one go off.
“One time a phone went off and it was outside the stall,” Carter said. She assumed the person who the phone belonged to was no longer alive, because Mateen kept demanding the phone and nobody was responding. Carter threw her phone out of the stall, though it was not going off, so that he would not shoot them.