Orlando Nightclub Shooting Update: Survivors May Have Blocked Exit Door That Would Have Allowed People To Escape

The shooting that occurred early this morning at Pulse, an LGBT club in Orlando, Florida, is the deadliest in the history of the United States. In addition to the 50 people that were killed, a reported 53 more were also injured. While details are still coming out regarding the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, and his motives, it appears as though he may have called 911 prior to the shooting and pledged his alliance to ISIS, as reported by NBC News. In addition to being a follower of ISIS, he also apparently referenced the Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in his 911 call. Full details regarding the 911 call are not yet available.

Since the club was extremely dark and loud, it was a very hectic and scary situation for everyone involved. According to witnesses, the gunshots initially blended in with the music, and many believed that the DJ added the noises in. In an interview with ABC News, which was posted to YouTube, survivor Luis Burbano called in to discuss what happened. A visibly shaken Burbano notes how he remained in the club for a few minutes after the shooting started in order to try and help those who were shot.

After the shooting stopped for a few seconds, Burbano made his way outside into an alley. With the bullets getting louder and closer, Burbano and another man blocked the exit door in order to prevent the gunman from possibly making his way outside. Burbano talked about how he hopes that he did not prevent anyone from escaping.

“As soon as we got a ten second break, we went through this alleyway, which led for only employees, and me and this random guy tried blocking the door, cause at that point, like I said, the bullets were getting louder and closer. So we blocked this door, and we did hear banging, and I pray it wasn’t anyone trying to escape, because I would forever feel guilty. But at that point there was about 20 people in front of us crammed in this little alleyway, with a big hole in one of the fences, and just trying to topple over, just trying to escape, just trying to run.”

Understandably, Burbano feels guilty about the possible implications of blocking the door. Since the club did not have a significant number of exits, there is a chance that some patrons of the club did not have any other way out. Burbano mentions that there were 20 people attempting to climb through a hole in a fence outside of the club. Since it took time for everyone to get through the fence, blocking the door could have prevented the shooter from quickly making his way outside and targeting the 20 people who were crammed in the small alley. Regardless, Burbano understands that blocking the door could have prevented many more people from getting outside and at least having a chance to run to safety.

Outside of the building, Burbano went on to assist a man who collapsed after being shot. In addition to having a gash on the side of his body, the man’s arm was apparently split in half. Like other survivors of the shooting, Burbano risked his life in order to help those in need. After leaving the club, he stayed for up to 15 minutes in order to provide any assistance that he could.

With the Orlando Nightclub shooting still early in the investigation stages, more updates are going to come out over the next few hours and days. As USA Today reports, the shooting has been called domestic terrorism, but it is unknown whether or not it is Islamic terrorism.

[Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images]

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