A Pulse Orlando clubgoer who survived Sunday's shooting said he used his own shirt to stop the bleeding of a wounded Pulse bartender and stayed with the victim in a police car to keep him conscious on the way to the emergency room.
Joshua McGill was with his roommates at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, when they heard gunshots around 2 a.m. and ran out of the club’s back patio exit.
McGill said today on “Good Morning America” that he hopped a fence to escape the gunfire that ultimately killed 49 people inside the club. He then hid behind a car in a parking lot for safety.
While hiding, McGill saw a victim “limping around” and “mumbling." He would later learn that the victim was Rodney Sumter, a 27-year-old bartender at Pulse.
“I went and grabbed him, brought him behind the car where I was,” McGill said on “GMA.”
“That’s when I noticed he had been shot once in each arm,” he said. “I took my shirt off, tied it around his first initial gunshot wound on his left arm. I took his shirt off, tied it around his other arm where the other gunshot wound was.”
McGill said he lead Sumter through the parking lot and discovered a third gunshot wound in Sumter’s upper back.
“I just applied as much pressure as I could as we were walking him to the nearest officer that was on standby,” McGill said.
With no ambulances on the scene, McGill said police officers instructed him to lay down in the patrol car with Sumter on top of him while squeezing Sumter’s back in order to constrict the blood.
“I can hear the police officers in the front seat saying, ‘Keep him conscious, talk to him,’” McGill recalled. “That’s when I learned his name.”
McGill said a prayer with Sumter and told him, ‘Stick with me. You’re going to be fine. I promise you, everything is going to be okay.’”
Sumter, a father of two, is now awaiting surgery at an Orlando-area hospital. McGill said he hopes to be reunited with him today and is in touch with Sumter’s family.
Pulse had been hosting a Latin-themed night when gunman Omar Mateen, armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, walked into the nightclub and sprayed the venue with bullets. Forty-nine people were killed and more than 50 were injured.
'Like a Scene Straight Out of a Movie'
Janiel Gonzalez was inside the club when the shots were fired.
"I just remember ducking to the floor and telling myself, ‘This is it. This is how I die. This is the end of me.’ I remember praying on the floor and asking God, ‘Help me. Help me get through this right now,'" Gonzalez said today on "GMA." "It was insane. Literally like a scene straight out of a movie."
Gonzalez said he hid behind a bar until he was able to make an escape. He survived the attack unharmed.
"I found the courage within myself to just get up and be like, ‘This is not how you’re going to die. You’re going to live. You’re going to be able to survive this. We need to come up with a plan," he said. "I remember running and not even looking back, just running, running, running, running to the first [lit] building that I saw, which was a 7-Eleven."
Ray Rivera was manning the DJ booth in the back patio of Pulse when he heard the gunshots, which he said he initially thought were firecrackers.
"I thought it was somebody playing a joke," Rivera said today on "GMA." "I didn’t realize what it was until I kind of looked inside and saw everybody running out."
Rivera said he hid behind the DJ booth until he heard a brief, seconds-long pause in the gunshots and ran outside.
"Everyone was having a good time and then just chaos broke loose at two o’clock," he said. "It went from a great vibe to one of the worst tragedies right now."