Felipe Marrero, who survived the worst mass shooting the United States, woke up at night thinking of the events and smelling gunpowder. Terrorist Omar Mateen broke into the Orlando Pulse nightclub and shot him four times in the lower back and arm, which was shattered.
Marrero had been trying to play dead hidden under a nightclub couch, but the gunman eventually found him and had no intentions to forgive him. Still, Marrero was lucky enough to survive and tell his story.
The assault, during which the terrorist called 911 to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, was the worst terrorist attack after 9/11. With an assault rifle and a pistol, Mateen killed 49 people and injured more than 53 others last Sunday at about 2 a.m. The gunman was shot and killed by police that night after officers crashed into the nightclub with stun grenades and an armored vehicle.
In an interview from his hospital bed at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, the 30-year-old survivor told the Associated Press that he was just about to leave the gay bar when he first heard the gunshots, as reported by the New York Daily News.
“I covered myself and laid on the ground for at least 30 minutes not trying to make any sudden movements,” he told AP. “I was just trying to play dead.”
Marrero said he stopped hearing the shots after about an hour, but Mateen was reloading and then managed to shoot him and left him bleeding on the ground before continuing with his act of terror and hate.
“The smell of the place was horrible — like gunpowder — and you just smelled death in the air,” Marrero recalled.
The victim said he was eventually dragged to safety by a police officer and the next day when he saw from his hospital bed Mateen’s photo on television he recognized him at once, saying that same guy had been right next to him ordering a drink at the bar before the shooting. However, this particular account has not been verified by authorities, according to the New York Daily News.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2016
He has had several surgeries and is already undergoing physical therapy to regain the functions of his wounded arm.
The terrorist had raised alarms before
CNN reported that Omar Mateen was born in New York in 1986, but his latest residence was located in Fort Piece, some 120 miles southeast of Orlando. The FBI interviewed the 29-year-old gunman in 2014 and 2014 after he praised a suicide bomber but the interviews happened to be inconclusive as he did not appear to pose a threat to public safety, as FBI Assistant Special Agent Ronald Hopper said Sunday at a news briefing.
No terror group has claimed responsibility for the mass shooting, but ISIS supporters have praised the attack on online pro-ISIS forums.
The terrorist’s parents are from Afghanistan. They declared that he had been negatively shocked after seeing a scene of two men kissing in Miami, but they didn’t detect on him any particularly religious preference and never thought he could be linked to ISIS, according to the CNN report.
“This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” Obama said from the White House earlier this week, after affirming that the assault had clearly been an act of both terror and hate.
The entire city was adorned with “Orlando Strong” banners that the affected families have used to express support for each other. Monica Roggiero, a funeral attendant close to the family of shooting victim Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, said she was amazed by the way the LGTB community was getting so close, as reported by the New York Daily News.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 12, 2016
Mateen was radicalized online
As ISIS is increasingly taking advantage of the digital tools to recruit and inspire people from all over the world, President Obama said this week that Mateen was motivated to carry out the deadly attack by jihadist propaganda online. And the day after the assault, FBI Director James Comey declared he was “highly confident” that the shooter was radicalized on the Internet.
Terrorists’ efforts to spread their message online have led many hacktivists to engage in a cyber-war against the group. A hacker linked to Anonymous has taken over headlines this week with his campaign to humiliate the religious extremists by replacing terror content with gay porn and gay pride messages on their social media accounts. Virtually named WauchulaGhost, he aims to offend terrorists and help Twitter shut down their accounts.
In an interview with CNN Money, he said he dedicates the time to this cause because he feels he needs to do something to defend the community of those who lost their lives or were injured and forever marked by the worst mass shooting in American history.
“Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in,” he told CNNMoney. “If you want change, you have to make that change, even if it means doing something illegal.”
The Ghost said he has received death threats and beheading images from ISIS supporters, but he still is firmly committed to fighting terrorism from his area of influence.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) June 12, 2016
Source: New York Daily News