In the days following the mass shooting at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando early on Sunday morning, survivors have bravely stepped forward to tell not only the stories of their own survival, but of the harrowing carnage they witnessed.
During a Tuesday press conference held at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, survivor Angel Colon said he was hugging friends goodbye as he prepared to leave Pulse when he started hearing gunfire "out of nowhere."
Colon said he was shot three times in the leg as he and others started to run, and he fell to the ground and was "trampled over" as he was unable to get himself up.
"All I could hear was the shotgun. People screaming, people yelling for help," Colon said. After seeing the shooter enter another room of the club, Colon said he continued to hear shots fired and then saw the gunman continue to shoot people who were already dead on the floor. He also shot the woman on the floor next to Colon.
Colon said he thought, "I'm next, I'm dead," just before the shooter fired at Colon twice again, hitting him in the hand and the hip, after which Colon played dead until a police officer came over to him and was able to drag him out of the club. The floor was covered in broken glass, Colon said, so his back and legs were getting cut the entire way out.
Norman Casiano, 25, told the New York Times Mondau that he was about to leave Pulse for the evening when the shooting started. He was able to make it to a bathroom with several other people where they hid and were able to hear the shooter get closer to their location. Casiano was able to briefly call his parents before losing service.
The shooter eventually reached the bathroom where Casiano and others were hiding, and Casiano says they begged for their lives, but the gunman let out an "evil laugh" and fired "at will." Like Colon, Casiano said he saw the shooter shooting at people who were already dead.
Casiano said he was shot twice in his back but survived has already been able to return home after being treated at the hospital.
In a Facebook post published on Sunday, Joshua McGill detailed how he helped to save the life of one of the people who was shot.
"I hid under a car and found one of the victims that was shot," McGill wrote on Facebook. "I tied my shirt and his shirt over his wounds to stop the bleeding and got him secretly to the nearest officer who then transported us to the ER."
Chris Hansen, who was also at the club at the time of the shooting, told CNN on Sunday that at first the sound of gunfire appeared to be a part of the loud music that was playing, until there were just "too many shots."
"I didn't even want to look back," Luis Burbano said to CNN. "Why? To look at them, that'd be the last thing I would see, the last memory I have." Andy Moss, another clubgoer who was at Pulse on Sunday morning said his "first instinct was to run and just get out."
In an interview with Billboard, 28-year-old Pulse bartender Michael Belvedere told the story of how he was able to escape the club during the shooting. Belvedere said he didn't see the shooter and had only heard shots while he hid with others in a back room where Belvedere picked up and held a heavy chair, thinking he could attack the gunman if he entered the room.
"I figured I'd prepare myself and maybe damage him or stop him before he could just pick us off like fish in a barrel," Belvedere told Billboard. Belvedere also said he heard "blood-curdling screams from some girls who were out there. It sounded like a horror movie, it didn't sound real. I thought someone was playing a joke on us. It wasn't real. The screams were something out of a horror movie."
Belvedere recounted that police eventually pushed an air conditioning unit through the window so that the people hiding in the room could escape through the window.