“[When the firing began] we believed it was part of the music,” said Carlos Rosario who had just entered the club when the first shots were fired.
As Carlos and other patrons hurried towards the exits, someone grabbed him by his collar. Carlos turned around and saw a man who was covered in blood.
Another eyewitness, Jay Rivera, a DJ, said that many managed to hide behind the booth he was working at, and eventually managed to get out of harm’s way.
Christopher Hansen was in the club’s VIP lounge when the shooting began.
"I was thinking, are you kidding me? So I just dropped down. I just said please, please, please, I want to make it out," he said. "And when I did, I saw people shot. I saw blood. You hope and pray you don't get shot," he said.
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured when Omar Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan descent, went on a shooting spree in the Pulse nightclub. Three hours later he was shot and killed when a police SWAT team stormed the premises.
Shortly afterwards, the terrorist group Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.