A Split-Second Decision of Veteran, Imran Yousuf, Saved Lives in Orlando
Our nation continues to reel with shock and grieve deeply for the lives lost this past weekend in Orlando. Accounts from witnesses and survivors have been bravely shared this week, but lesser-known is the story of the U.S. Marine veteran turned club bouncer who helped save the lives of dozens of people at the Pulse nightclub that night.
In a tearful interview with CBS, Yousuf, a 24-year-old Hindu, described the first moments of the attack:
The initial one was three or four (shots). That was a shock. Three or four shots go off and you could tell it was a high caliber," he said. "Everyone froze. I'm here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine pack everyone.
After serving in Afghanistan as a Marine, the former sergeant was likely one of the only people there that night who could actually discern that the weapon was high caliber and also realized that the back hallway would make them open targets if they remained there. As an employee of the club, Yousuf knew that beyond the end of the hallway was a latched door that would free them all out to safety.
"And I'm screaming 'Open the door! Open the door!' And no one is moving because they are scared," he explained. "There was only one choice. Either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch a we got everyone that we can out of there."
When asked how many people were able to escape:
Probably over 60, 70. As soon as people found that door was open they kept pouring out and after that we just ran.
But despite the lives he saved, Yousuf is regretful he didn't save more. Watch his heartbreaking interview on the next page.
Yousuf has had a warranted outpouring of accolades and support but he has asked to not be the focus:
We need to show our love and profound efforts to the families and friends who have lost someone and help them cope with what happened and turn our efforts to those who truly need it... Once again I sincerely thank everyone and bless all those who are recovering and trying to make sense of it all.