ORLANDO (CBSMiami) — When the shooter in Orlando opened fire with his military style assault rifle, one man in the club recognized the sound.READ MORE: South Florida Family Encourages Booster Shots After Vaccinated Relative Dies Of COVID-19
The war veteran’s instincts kicked in and he saved dozens of lives.
“He must have literally walked in as I walked to the back staff hallway,” said Imran Yousef, a bouncer at the Pulse nightclub – the site of the shooting.
Yousef said he never saw the gunman Saturday night. Right after last call, he was making his rounds and barely missed coming face-to-face with shooter Omar Mateen.
Yousef, a 25 year-old Hindu, served as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan. On Saturday night, the combat zone followed him to Orlando.
“Shots go off,” said Yousef.READ MORE: 'Unacceptable,' South Florida Haitian Leaders Outraged Over What Happened In Del Rio, Texas
When asked how many shots, he said “The initial one as three or four. That was a shock. Three of four go off and you could tell it was a high caliber…everyone froze. I’m here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine pack everyone.”
Yousef knew just beyond that pack of panicked people was a door – safety but someone had to unlatch it.
“And I’m screaming open the door. Open the door and no one is moving because they are scared. 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 and we got everyone that we can out of there,” said Yousef.
Yousef said that’s when dozens poured out and got to safety.
“Probably over sixty, seventy…As soon as people found the door was open, they kept pouring out and after that we just ran,” said Yousef.
While he saved many people, he says it was not enough.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 53,000 In Florida
“I wish I could have saved more to be honest. There are a lot of people who are dead. There are a lot of people who are dead,” said Yousef while crying.