Stories Emerge of Heroes at Orlando LGBTQ Nightclub

by Carolyn Simon

As we mourn the lives of the 49 individuals who were killed, we celebrate the heroism of those who stepped up to help others.

As we learn the names and stories of the 49 individuals who were killed in the Orlando LGBTQ nightclub massacre, we are also hearing stories of the heroes who helped save the lives of countless survivors of the attack.

Here are the stories of just a few:

Josh McGill

McGill and his friends crawled out of the club after hearing gunshots, and fled on foot once they reached the parking lot. When gunfire erupted outside of the club, McGill hid behind a car until the sound of the gunshots faded. He was about to run again when a stranger asked him for help. McGill found bullet wounds in the stranger’s arms, and tore off his own shirt to staunch the bleeding.

McGill asked another bystander for his shirt to stop the bleeding in a third bullet wound in the stranger’s back.

He walked the stranger toward police, who told McGill that he would have a key role in transporting the stranger to the hospital.

McGill’s job, the officer told him, was to lay down in the back of the car, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. ‘We will lay him on top of you, and you bear hug him,’ the officer said.

‘Keep him conscious, no matter what, McGill was told as they rushed off down the road.’”

McGill talked with the stranger, who was later identified as Rodney Sumter, a 27-year-old bartender at the club. Sumter is a father of two and is awaiting surgery.

Edward Sotomayor Jr.

Sotomayor, 34, known as Eddie to friends and family, was at the club with his boyfriend, and was shot in the back as he pushed his boyfriend through a club door to safety.

Ray Rivera, aka DJ Infinite

Rivera was the DJ at the Orlando LGBTQ nightclub, and things were winding down when he heard gunshots. Rivera took shelter behind his booth, along with a man and a woman. The man fled, but Rivera stayed with the woman and escorted her to safety.

Read more in The Washington Post.

Photo credit (left to right): Joshua McGill's Facebook page, Edward Sotomayor Jr.'s Instagram, DJ Infinite's Facebook page.

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