The tragic terrorist attack that wounded 53 and killed 50 in Orlando, Florida yesterday has shocked the world. Omar Mateen, a lone gunman with ISIS leanings and anti-gay sentiment, laughed and screamed “Allah Akbar” as he gunned down victims. Heartbreaking stories are now emerging detailing the anguish and terror of not only the victims but also their family members and friends. One mother told the tale of her son, who was at the Pulse gay club that night.
Mina Justice knew her son Eddie Justice, age 30, was openly gay but that didn’t matter. She was proud of her son’s accomplishments and his successful career as accountant. At 2:06 a.m. she received a text message from her son that read, “Mommy I love you. In club they shooting.” It turned out that Eddie was at the Pulse nightclub while Mateen was on his rampage of terror. She was able to speak to him by phone and heard other people in the background crying. Concerned about his safety, she told him to stop speaking and to text her. He told his mother to call the police and tell them where he was hiding. The last texts she received were devastating; they read, “He’s Coming. I’m gonna die” and were received at 2:39 a.m.
Mina Justice was distraught and was among many relatives of victims desperate to hear news about their loved ones all day. Sadly, it was later confirmed that Eddie Justice was among the 39 people police say died inside the club. There are tales of others who were also hiding, including one woman who hid herself under dead bodies and escaped death.
Police reported that the level of gunfire from Mateen increased in intensity with him spraying his AR-15 assault rifle at victims in close quarters. Mateen was killed by police during a SWAT team assault that freed up to 30 hostages. President Obama stated that it was the “deadliest mass shooting in US history.”