15:48 GMT +322 November 2019
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    A police vehicle outside the Pulse nightclub, the scene of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016

    Hero of Our Time: War Veteran Saves Dozens During Orlando Club Massacre

    © AFP 2019 / Gregg NEWTON
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    A brave Marine veteran helped about 70 people escape from an Orlando nightclub when a terrorist went on a rampage killing 49 people.

    Twenty-four-year-old Imran Yousuf, a former US Marine sergeant who served in Afghanistan, was working as a bouncer at the ill-fated Pulse night club in Orlando. When he heard the first gunshots early Sunday morning, he recognized it immediately.

    "You could just tell it was a high caliber," Yousuf told CBS News. That's when his Marine Corps training kicked in. He stood in the back hallway that was already "sardine-packed" by people, when he realized that a locked door at the back of the corridor was the only way out.

    "I'm screaming 'Open the door! Open the door!' And no one is moving because they are scared," Yousuf said. "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."

    Risking his life, Yousuf saved about 70 people, who managed to get out through the unlocked door.

    Soon after the tragedy, Yousuf posted a message on his Facebook page: "There are a lot of people naming me a hero and as a former Marine and Afghan veteran I honestly believe I reacted by instinct. I have lost a few of my friends that night which I am just finding out about right now and while it might seem that my actions are heroic I decided that the others around me needed to be saved as well and so I just reacted."

    While he appreciates the support he has received, Yousuf stressed that people should focus on the victims' families, not him, he wrote.

    "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," he wrote. "Once again I sincerely thank everyone and bless all those who are recovering and trying to make sense of it all."

    The nightclub shooting occurred in the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. The shooter, Omar Mateen, claimed the lives of 49 victims and injured 53 before he was also killed. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in US history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.

    Orlando Gay Bar Terror, veteran, Orlando Shooting, Afghanistan, United States
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