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Four More Orlando Nightclub Heroes Share Their Courageous Stories

by Carolyn Simon June 14, 2016


On Monday, we shared the stories of just a few of the heroes who saved lives of loved ones and strangers during the Orlando LGBTQ nightclub shooting.

Today, we are learning more of these stories - of a war veteran who led dozens to safety, of a man who silenced a fellow clubgoer so the shooter would not hear her screams and find her, of a mom who pushed her son out of harm’s way so that he would live.

Here are their stories:

Imran Yousuf

Imran Yousuf, 24, served with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and is no stranger to the sound of gunshots. He was near the back when he heard the familiar sound.

He was caught up in a throng of people who fled to a back hallway in search of an exterior door.

The door was latched, and in a sea of panic, none of the people closest to the door were able to unlatch it.

And I'm screaming 'Open the door! Open the door!' And no one is moving because they are scared," he told CBS News. "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."

Yousuf estimates that 60 or 70 people fled through the door once he opened it, but says he wished there was more he could have done.

“I wish I could have saved more to be honest," he said through tears. "There are a lot of people that are dead ...there are a lot of people that are dead."

Christopher Hansen

Christopher Hansen was on his way out of the club when he came across a young woman who had been shot in the arm.

"I'm not going to leave these victims behind," he told CNN's New Day. "I wanted to make sure she was alert. I was not leaving her until she was assisted."

Samuel Maldonado

Samuel Maldonado and his partner took shelter from the gunfire under a table that was draped with a black tablecloth, hidden from the shooter’s view.

A blood-covered woman collapsed nearby and was screaming in anguish. Maldonado pulled her under the table and covered her mouth to stifle her screams.

When the shooter turned around, Maldonado and the woman fled to safety.

"I grabbed this young girl and I threw her first and I was able to go and as soon as I did, I saw the police officers."

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, a mom of 11 children, was dancing at the club with her 21-year-old son Isaiah Henderson.

She saw the gunman and pushed Henderson out of the way. He escaped and survived, but McCool did not.

"I want my mother to be remembered as a great person, a person who loved you no matter what color, no matter what ethnicity, no matter what sexual orientation," her son Mark Marquez told WNEP. "I want her to be remembered as a loving and caring person."

Photo (left to right, top to bottom): Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Christopher Hansen, Samuel Maldonado, Imran Yousuf





Carolyn Simon
Carolyn Simon

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