“We went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives in a matter of minutes,” said Patience Carter, a 20-year-old victim of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Carter, along with her best friend Tiara Parker, 20, and Parker’s cousin, Akyra Murray, 18, visited Pulse on vacation in Orlando, according to Buzzfeed. They thought they would escape to dance the night away.
“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.”
All of that changed when Omar Mateen entered the club, killing 49 and injuring over 50 people. What they witnessed instead was brutal carnage.
Right before the shooting began, the friends were inside Pulse waiting for an Uber to return to the hotel.
As the shots rang out, Parker and Carter dropped to the floor, crawling towards the door. Then they realized that Murray was not with them and entered back inside the club.
Finally, the girls reunited and ran to the bathroom to take cover. A few minutes later, Mateen entered the bathroom and began shooting.
Carter lay down in the stall, with others falling on top of her. She sustained a shot in both legs, while Parker was shot in the side. Murray was also injured with a shot to the arm.
“Bodies were piled on top of each other on the toilet seat,” Carter said. “There were handprints on everything, and blood.”
As Carter lay on the floor, she looked over to see Parker holding her lifeless cousin in her arms.
She says that Mateen made numerous statements in the bathroom, striking up conversation multiple times. From her account, he was frustrated that people were using their phones and demanded people turn them off. He told Parker and others that he did not “have a problem with black people,” that he thought they “have suffered enough,” and he was “doing this to get America to stop bombing his country.”
Carter was ready to die.
“I made peace with God within myself. I said, ‘God, if this is how I have to go, please take me, I just don’t want any more shots … I didn’t want to feel any more pain,” she said.
Police eventually hauled Carter and Parker into an ambulance. They are both in stable condition.
She says she is heavily burdened with guilt because her life was spared, while others were not. She expressed herself through poetry as a way to cope.
SOURCES: Buzzfeed | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter, Getty