Patience Carter, a 20-year-old Philadelphian, was one of more than 100 people shot inside Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning. Carter survived being shot in each leg.
She shared her story at a press conference in an Orlando hospital.
Carter went to Pulse with two friends during what was her first trip to Florida. She and one of her friends, Akyra Murray (who ended up dying from injuries), tried to run as the shots began to fire off, but they turned back when they realized they were missing the last member of their trio, Tiara Parker. The three girls ended up hiding in the bathroom, where they ended up with the gunman being held as hostages.
“Throughout that period of hours the gunman was in there with us, [he] made a 911 call saying the reason why he is doing this is because he wants America to stop bombing his country, and then he pledged allegiance to ISIS,” she says.
Carter wrote and shared a poem to help her begin healing from the experience.
The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy.
Wanting to smile about surviving but not sure if the people around you are ready
As the world mourns, the victims killed and viciously slain, I feel guilty about screaming about my legs in pain.
Because I could feel nothing like the other 49 who weren’t so lucky to feel this pain of mine.
I never thought in a million years that this could happen.
I never thought in a million years that my eyes could witness something so tragic.
Looking at the souls leaving the bodies of individuals, looking at the killer’s machine gun throughout my right peripheral. Looking at the blood and debris covered on everyone’s faces. Looking at the gunman’s feet under the stall as he paces.
The guilt of feeling lucky to be alive is heavy. It’s like the weight of the ocean’s walls crushing uncontrolled by levies. It’s like being drug through the grass with a shattered leg and thrown on the back of a Chevy. It’s like being rushed to the hospital and told you’re gonna make it when you laid beside individuals whose lives were brutally taken.
The guilt of being alive is heavy.