One of the survivors of the Orlando, Florida, massacre said the shooter tried to spare black people.
Patience Carter, 20, was on vacation with Tiara Parker and Akyra Murray's family (the two girls are cousins), according to the Daily Mail. Around 2:00 a.m. on June 12 in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Carter said she heard the gunshots but wasn’t quite sure of what was going on.
"I was so confused," she recalled at a press conference, the Daily Mail reports. " ... I thought it was a BB gun at first, or the DJ playing some sound of gunshots. I didn't think they were actually real gunshots."
After dropping to the floor, Carter said she started to crawl towards the exit, and Murray, 18, soon followed. After they made it outside, they realized Parker had not exited the club, so they both went back inside to search for her.
Once inside, all three sought shelter with some men in a handicapped bathroom stall. Omar Mateen, the shooter, reportedly followed them inside and shot several bullets, hitting all three women.
"At that point we knew that this wasn't a game," Carter recalled. "This was very real and this was something that was really happening to us right now. It was a shock. We went from having the time of our lives to the worst night of our lives all within a matter of minutes."
Mateen eventually came back to the stall and allegedly asked if any black people were hiding there. Someone replied affirmatively, so the killer reportedly put away his weapon.
"I don't have a problem with black people," Mateen allegedly said. "This is about my country. You guys suffered enough."
Carter said she also heard part of Mateen's phone conversations with law enforcement, recalling that he spoke in Arabic for a bit, pledged allegiance to ISIS, and said he wanted to stop the United States from bombing Afghanistan, where his parents are from.
"He wasn't going to stop killing people till he was killed," Carter said, as reported by CBS.
Ultimately, Murray became the youngest victim of Mateen’s mass shooting.
Carter said she is struggling with survivor’s guilt. She wrote a poem called, "The Guilt of Being Alive is Heavy."
"The guilt of feeling grateful to be alive is heavy," the poem reads, according to the Daily Mail. "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 and pain."