Justice

Orlando Shooting Survivor Writes Open Letter to Gunman

A survivor in Orlando who "narrowly escaped" the attack Sunday at gay nightclub Pulse has penned a powerful open letter to Omar Mateen, the man who carried out the atrocity before authorities fatally shot him.

In a letter posted on xoJane, Alejandro A. Francisco writes that he left the club mere moments before hearing gunshots inside. He and his friends "had no idea the all-consuming nightmare [they] narrowly escaped" at the time. Francisco named some of the victims of the shooting and condemned Mateen for taking their lives.

"These men and women were strangers to you," Francisco wrote. "All of them had one precious gift, one saving grace that you could never, ever have. That much is clear. I know you had a child and a wife and a father and a mother, but you did not have what they had. You never could have. What happened never could have happened if you did."

Francisco wrote that Mateen "failed" to destroy the love within the LGBT community, describing the powerful moment he came out as gay to his mother at age 16. He added that she accepted his sexuality and said that she would always love him. He noted that Mateen must not have had such love in his life to carry out the attack at the nightclub.

 

"And… she didn’t care," Francisco wrote. "She saw me as her son. She saw me the same way she had always seen me. She saw me with the healing, transformative eyes of love. I am so sorry you must not have ever had that in your life. Otherwise, I can’t imagine you would have wanted so badly to end mine."

Francisco's story garnered many emotional reactions on Facebook:

Read Francisco's full letter here.