A 20-year-old NYU student initially escaped the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub with a friend, but went back to save another girl – only for her friend to be gunned down and her to be wounded in both legs.
Patience Carter, an NYU student originally from Philadelphia, was on vacation with her friend Akira and Akira’s cousin Tiara on Sunday night, she told reporters at a press conference in a Florida hospital Tuesday.
The three went to Pulse after searching online for the best clubs in the city, and were about to get an Uber ride home when Carter heard gunfire erupt from the club’s dance floor.
“We went from having the time of lives [to] the worst night of our lives...all within a matter of minutes,” she said Tuesday.
Carter and Akira scrambled to the exit and made it out of the club alive, she said Tuesday. But Carter urged Akira to go back in with her to rescue Tiara.
While inside, Carter said, the three girls got trapped and raced to the bathroom where groups of people were crowding into the stalls.
“The gunshots were still going off rapidly,” she said. “We were actually the last ones to make it into the bathroom stall.”
The gunman made his way to the bathroom and opened fire, striking all three of the girls and a number of other victims who were hiding, she said. Carter and Tiara survived their injuries, she said, but Akira later died.
Carter wrote a poem about her experience and shared it with the press Tuesday. In the poem, she explains feeling guilt about surviving while her friend was killed.
“If I would have told Akira to stay outside and just wait ... she didn’t make it,” she said after reading the poem Tuesday. “Me and Tiara did make it.”