Texts From the Orlando Massacre Show the Reality of Gun Violence in America

June 12th 2016

Aron Macarow

Just before 3 a.m. Sunday morning, an Orlando woman received terrifying text messages from her gay son, who was reportedly trapped in a bathroom during the Florida nightclub massacre. The shooter, who police identified as Omar Mateen, took dozens of people hostage in addition to killing 50 people and injuring at least 53 others.

Mina Justice's son Eddie was one of the hostages, according to The Huffington Post. The City of Orlando confirmed early Monday that Mina's son, Eddie, was one of the victims who died in the shooting.

Her son sent a string of text messages to her as the rampage unfolded, illustrating the horrifying reality Americans face in nightclubs, movie theaters, office buildings and other public spaces due to the threat of gun violence.

Texts from inside the Orlando gay nightclub massacre.

Witnesses reported hearing at least 40 shots fired, with gunfire lasting the length of an entire song. In an attempt to escape, some of the almost 320 club-goers crawled for cover while others reportedly hid in the nightclub's bathrooms as they fled the gunman.

Justice's son Eddie was among those who ran for cover in the women's restroom. The Orlando mom shared the the text messages from her son with WFTV-TV. They depict a chilling narrative, as the man tells his mother:

"Mommy I love you"

"In club they shooting"

"He's coming"

"I'm gonna die"

"He's in the bathroom with us"

The texts continue with Eddie writing to his mom, "He has us."

Son texts his mother "he has us" during Orlando shooting.

This is the full report from WFTV.


Photos from the scene show police and by-standers carrying the injured out of the nightclub and toward awaiting emergency responders.

Gun Violence Archives, an online register of gun violence incidents, reports that there have been 133 mass shootings so far in 2016, Vox reports. By comparison, we are only 162 days into the year - meaning that we may be on track for another year with more than one attack per day.

Update: 6/13 10:25 a.m. PST: This story was updated to include that Eddie Justice was named among the victims of the shooting at Pulse Orlando.